The 1990 Plainfield tornado is the only F5 twister to hit the U.S. in August

·2 min read
The 1990 Plainfield tornado is the only F5 twister to hit the U.S. in August
The 1990 Plainfield tornado is the only F5 twister to hit the U.S. in August

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.

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On Tuesday, Aug. 28, 1990, an F5 tornado touched down in Plainfield, Ill. It's the only F5/EF5 tornado to hit the Chicago area and the only one of that magnitude to touch down in the United States in August. The twister killed 29 people and injured 353.

Shortly after noon, a supercell formed in the south of Wisconsin. The thunderstorm produced a tornado in Pecatonica, Ill., at around 1:42 p.m. That tornado was short-lived, but the thunderstorm produced four more predecessor tornadoes. No injuries were reported.

Courtesy: NWS Chicago
Courtesy: NWS Chicago

Courtesy of NWS Chicago

At around 3:15 p.m., the supercell spawned the principal tornado near Oswego. The twister quickly strengthened into an F3 tornado as it made its way to Wheatland Township. It destroyed twelve homes in a subdivision.

As the tornado continued across farmland, it strengthened into an F5. The destructive twister left nothing but bare soil in its tracks. It also threw a 20-tonne tractor-trailer, killing the driver inside. The tornado tossed several other cars in the area, killing three more people.

The tornado slightly weakened into an F4 as it approached Plainfield at around 3:28 p.m. Approximately two minutes later, the twister hit the Plainfield High School, killing three people.

Courtesy: NWS Chicago
Courtesy: NWS Chicago

Courtesy of NWS Chicago

The tornado continued to ravage the school before destroying the Plainfield School District Administration building, killing the custodian's wife. It continued through the town, killing three people at the St. Mary Immaculate Church and school.

The twister made its way to the city of Joliet, killing five people. Hundreds of homes were destroyed in the area. At 3:38 p.m., it travelled towards Crest Hill, destroying apartment buildings and townhomes, killing eight more people. The tornado dissipated in Joliet and the parent thunderstorm dissipated at around 4:30 p.m.

To learn more about the Plainfield Tornado, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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