National Weather Service: Two brief, weak tornadoes hit Champaign

National Weather Service: Two brief, weak tornadoes hit Champaign

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UPDATE, 7 a.m. Tuesday:

CHAMPAIGN — Despite two brief tornadoes hitting southwest Champaign on Sunday afternoon, the city's tornado sirens weren't activated.

When the tornadoes struck just after 2:15 p.m., the head of the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency said he was unable to confirm the funnel clouds.

"You can see rotation on radar, and we saw none. I called the National Weather Service, and they said 'no,'" John Dwyer said. "We had a spotter nearby, and they didn't see anything."

The two tornadoes were rated EF-0, the lowest rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale, and each lasted less than a minute, according to a preliminary report from the weather service, which sent a crew to the scene Monday.

Read the full story here

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UPDATE, 4:10 p.m. Monday:

CHAMPAIGN — Two brief, weak tornadoes hit the southwest edge of Champaign on Sunday afternoon, according to a premilinary report from the National Weather Service.

"Two very brief, weak tornadoes spun up on the leading edge of the line of storms on the southwest outskirts of the city of Champaign," the agency said. "The line of storms was also responsible for widespread wind damage, with estimated peak gusts of 60 to 80 mph, from Mahomet through Champaign/Urbana to Broadlands."

Both tornadoes were rated EF-0, meaning they had wind speeds between 65 and 85 mph.

The first tornado had winds of about 80 to 85 mph and travelled a tenth of a mile with a width of 30 yards, according to the agency.

"At 2:16 pm CDT a weak tornado briefly touched down in the backyard of a residence on Copper Ridge Road. The tornado damaged the roofs of two homes, damaged a shed, fencing and trees. Eyewitnesses stated the tornado dissipated in about 30 seconds or less, about one-tenth of a mile to the east-southeast of where it formed," the agency said.

The second tornado had winds of about 75 to 80 mph and travelled about a tenth of a mile with a width of 20 yards, according to the the agency.

"After the tornado near Copper Ridge Road dissipated, the line of thunderstorms produced wind damage to trees in Zahnd Park," the weather service said. "The storm crossed I-57, and then shortly thereafter, a second brief tornado developed near Duncan Road and Rolling Acres Drive. This tornado snapped off the tops of trees and did minor damage to two properties."

This tornado also dissipated in less than a minute, according to the agency.

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UPDATE, 3:15 p.m. Monday:

CHAMPAIGN — Preliminary reports confirmed that a tornado touched down Sunday in southwest Champaign, according to Randy Smith, deputy fire marshal for the Champaign Fire Department.

The National Weather Service has been assessing damage since 10 a.m. Monday, Smith said.

Despite this initial conclusion, Smith said the observable conditions didn't warrant activating the tornado sirens.

"Neither the NWS utilizing radar echo or trained weather spotters were able to observe conditions that would have caused the outdoor warning siren system to be activated," he said.

The sirens are used when local weather spotters or emergency personnel report a funnel cloud or tornado threatening the area, Smith said, and when a tornado touches down and the NWS spots a "radar echo."

Also Monday, the city of Champaign said it would be picking up tree debris until June 18 in the area bordered by Windsor Road, Rising Road, Kirby Avenue and Staley Road.

The debris should be placed at the curbside in yard waste bags or bundled in non-metallic twine.

Residents in other areas with natural debris should contact the public works department to request a pickup at

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UPDATE, 9:40 a.m.:

The National Weather Service has a team en route to Champaign to survey damage and determine whether a tornado touched down.

"They'll be talking to people impacted and to emergency management folks," said weather service meteorologist Chris Miller, who's based in Lincoln.

Miller hoped to have findings by mid-afternoon.

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UPDATE, 9 a.m.:

SAVOY — At the University of Illinois Golf Course in Savoy, director Mike Wallner reported around 50 trees down on the Orange course.

"It's closed today for sure," said Wallner.

He said the Blue course is open, and officials will decide later Monday when the Orange course can re-open.

The annual UI Open is scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday on the Orange course.

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UPDATE, 6:40 a.m. Monday, June 11:

CHAMPAIGN — After peaking at around 7,000, around 100 Ameren customers remain without power in Champaign and Vermilion counties after Sunday's storms.

A flash-flood watch has been issued for Douglas, Edgar, Coles, Macon, Shelby and Moultrie counties until 9 a.m.

A flash-flood warning has been issued for Shelby and Moultrie counties until 9:15 a.m.

A flood warning has been issued for the Vermilion River near Danville until Tuesday afternoon.

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UPDATE, 6 p.m. Sunday, June 10:

CHAMPAIGN — No one was hurt but around 24 structures were damaged after storms that prompted tornado warnings rolled through Champaign County on Sunday afternoon.  There's been no confirmation yet of a tornado.

Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Director John Dwyer said most of the damage came in Champaign's Copper Ridge subdivision, with two homes sustaining heavy roof damage.  The Red Cross was on hand in that neighborhood.

Dwyer also said a grain bin near Longview was damaged.

Dwyer said after a malfunction last week, the county's emergency sirens were working Sunday.  But he said there wasn't enough information to sound them.

Near Copper Ridge, in the Cherry Hills subdivision, United Way CEO Sue Grey got a firsthand look.

In Vermilion County, the emergency management agency got scattered reports of downed trees, crops and power lines, as well as flooding.  But like Champaign County, no injuries were reported, and there's no confirmation yet of a tornado.

The National Weather Service will be doing damage assessments over the coming days.

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UPDATE, 4:39 p.m.:

Storm damage also was evident in the Ironwood subdivision in southwest Champaign.

Josh Rosenberg and his wife huddled in the basement of their house in the 4700 block of Watermark as the worst of Sunday's weather hit.

"What I heard reminded me of other times I've been around a tornado," Rosenberg said. "There certainly was a high wind for a short period of time, a definite change of sound.

"It was frightening."

Rosenberg said trees were uprooted, a trampoline was crumpled and roofs were damaged in Ironwood.

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UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.:

The Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency reports the following damage:

  • Moore Street at East Voorhees Street, Danville: Tree down blocking Moore
  • 1000 block of Knollcrest Drive, Danville: Tree down blocking roadway
  • West Raymond Avenue at North Vermilion Street, Danville: Tree down blocking Raymond
  • Illinois 119, Alvin: Viaduct flooded
  • 1600 block of East Voorhees Street, Danville: Road blocked by flooding
  • 200 block of East Seventh Street, Georgetown: Tree across power lines on fire
  • Western Avenue at Hungry Hollow Road, Danville: Tree down on Western
  • Oakwood Avenue at Pollack Avenue, Danville: Several power lines down in road
  • Barn Bridge Road at Grape Creek Road, Danville: Multiple trees down in road south of bridge
  • Clingan Lane, Westville: Power line down on road east of cemetary
  • Perrysville Avenue just south of South Buchanan Street, Danville: Tree branch down over power lines

No one was reported hurt in Vermilion County.

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UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — Sue Grey, preisdent and CEO of the United Way of Champaign County, reported minor damage near her home in the Cherry Hills subdivision in southwest Champaign. She can see snapped power poles, shingles blown off houses and downed trees. Grey said power is out at her home.

"We could see it roll through the neighborhood, this wall of wind," Grey said. "Dusty and dirty and full of stuff. It was like the air was getting sucked out. You could feel that pressure change."

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UPDATE, 3:16 p.m.:

A flash-flood warning has been issued for Vermilion County until 6:15 p.m.

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UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — Today's storms caused extensive damage in the Copper Ridge subdivision in southwest Champaign.

A downed power line forced the closure of a stretch of Windsor Road. Nearby, the impact of the storms was evident in damaged roofs, trees and fences.

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UPDATE, 3 p.m.:

The severe thunderstorm warning for Champaign and surrounding areas has expired.

Power outages in the Champaign-Urbana area are up to around 3,000 customers, according to Ameren's website.

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UPDATE, 2:45 p.m.:

A new tornado warning has been issued for parts of Champaign, Vermilion, Douglas, and Edgar counties until 3:30 p.m.

Ameren now reports around 2,000 customers out of power in Champaign area.

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UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — The tornado warning has expired, but the severe thunderstorm warning remains.

The National Weather Service reports scattered instances of downed power lines and tree limbs, but no major damage has been reported as of 2:30 p.m.

Ameren reports 1370 customers are without power southwest of Champaign.

Champaign County Emergency Management Agency Director John Dwyer reports damage to some homes in the 4500 block of Copper Ridge Road near the intersection of Windsor and Staley roads, but he did not have specifics.

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Original story, published 2 p.m. Sunday, June 10:

CHAMPAIGN — A tornado warning is in effect for parts of Champaign, Piatt, and DeWitt counties until 2:30 p.m. Residents are advised to take shelter.

In addition, a severe-thunderstorm watch is in effect for parts of Champaign, Douglas, Piatt, Macon, and Moultrie counties until 3 p.m.

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