A tornado touchdown in southern Naperville Saturday morning resulted in damage to the roof of one commercial building and trees and tree limbs being downed, city officials reported.
The National Weather Service reported the touchdown occurred at 5:41 a.m. at Route 59 and 95th Street. It was the second tornado to occur in Naperville in the last 13 months.
Much of the worst damage occurred near the strip mall anchored by the Jewel store in the 2800 block of West 95th Street, where photos posted online show toppled trees and the sign for Naperville Shopping Plaza knocked over.
Gas leaks in commercial buildings in the area were reported and contained, a city news release said.
More than 250 people lost electricity near Washington Street and Gartner Road, but power was restored by 7 a.m. Saturday, the release said.
Most of the damage was in the Route 59 corridor, between White Eagle Drive and Hassert Boulevard. Among the blocks blocked by debris were Bluebird Lane, Coneflower Drive, Copperfield Drive, Snowbird Lane, Callery Road, Robert Lane and Gleneagles Road.
Suchitra Kukreja, who lives on Rosinweed Lane, east of Route 59 and just west of Riverview Farmstead Forest Preserve, said her home received more than $5,000 in damage — including a destroyed patio and a broken triple-pane window — about 3 a.m.
The wind was strong at the time, she said, but she had no idea of the extent of the storm until she heard the glass break on the first floor of the three-story house she shares with her husband and their two children, ages 11 and 16.
“All of a sudden I could hear the window smashing really loudly,” Kukreja said. “It was really bad but they gave us no notice. The sirens didn’t go off.”
Those came after the initial damage was done, about 3:30 or 4 a.m., she said. The family took shelter in their basement until after the touchdown more than an hour later, she said.
Kukreja was not alone in her anger that there had been no warning about the dangerous nature of the storm. Dozens of residents went on social media to post similar complaints.
“(W)e didn’t hear any sirens. I got warnings for severe thunderstorm on one of my weather apps. But not a tornado warning,” one person said.
“Where were the sirens, Naperville? We didn’t hear any either!” another wrote.
The last tornado to come through Naperville occurred the night of June 1, 2021.
At its peak, it was an EF-3 with sustained wind speeds as high as 140 mph. Several people were injured and 231 structures in Naperville were severely damaged, 19 of which were deemed uninhabitable by the city.
The Route 59 location of Saturday’s tornado touchdown is not far from the devastating tornado that occurred in Plainfield in 1993, killing 29 people and injuring 353.
The National Weather Service also confirmed that a second tornado occurred early Saturday morning in Crest Hill. The tornado “tracked south into the north side of Joliet before lifting,” officials said in a tweet. The tornado was assigned a preliminary EF-0 rating, with peak estimated winds of 70 mph, the tweet said.
Meanwhile, in Lake County, state transportation officials were cleaning up water Saturday on U.S. Route 41 near Lake Bluff, with the road closed from routes 137 to 176, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s office.
When Lake Bluff resident Kris Rosiak looked outside his home around 6 a.m. Saturday, he noticed the overnight storms had flooded his yard.
“Our house was basically an island,” Rosiak said. “A lot of our neighbors got basement damage.”
His home is on the near west side of Lake Bluff, just east of Green Bay Road and west of the train tracks that divide the east and west sides of town.
It took a couple hours for the water to recede, Rosiak said, and some roads were still flooded and closed, including the viaduct that goes under the Metra train and connects residents into the downtown business area.
“It’s like a 14-foot clearance and the water’s all the way up to the top of that,” Rosiak said. “It’s still closed at this point.”
His son, who was awake until around 2 a.m., saw it start to rain, he said. But the torrential storms, thunder and lightning came around 4 to 5 a.m., Rosiak said.
“It looked like buckets were pouring,” he said. “Looked like it was raining sideways as well. It came down in a hurry.”
Rosiak’s basement didn’t get too damaged, though water did get inside and soak their carpet, he said. He saw neighbors with worse luck Saturday morning, pulling furniture and carpeting out of their basement.
“The storm sewers just can’t handle it,” Rosiak said. “We see this with big rains quite frequently, unfortunately.”
Strong storms seem to be happening more frequently, Rosiak said.
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“We’re having this over and over again,” he said. “I don’t know what the town’s doing about it. Doesn’t seem like much. But again, it just seems to be on a more frequent occasion and we just seem to keep getting lucky.”
Friday night’s storm worked its way out of the Chicago area and into central Illinois and northwest Indiana, said Zachary Yack, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Another storm was headed toward Chicagoland from southern Minnesota and Iowa on Saturday.
Any area from around Interstate 80 in the south suburbs, east to Gary, Indiana and north to the Wisconsin state line, is “fair game” for where the wave of thunderstorms might hit, Yack said. That storm will also bring damaging winds of up to 70 mph winds, he said.
“Also another round of torrential rainfall,” Yack said. “And there’s a chance that we could see a few tornadoes here and there, as well, later on this evening and into the early part of the overnight hours.”
The worst of it is expected to reach the Chicago area in the evening and through midnight, with possible storms building up behind the main storm system and continuing to bring rainfall into tomorrow morning and possibly early afternoon.
Yack said people should be on guard and have multiple ways to receive warning alerts.
“It’s important to make sure you have ways (to get) warnings that can wake you up in the middle of the night in case we issue warnings overnight while you’re sleeping,” he said.