August 28, 1990. I remember it very well–and my prayers are for the families and friends who were lost or injured in the major then F5 Plainfield, Illinois tornado.
A moment of silence for the remembrance of everyone who remembered that terrible tragedy…
On the day this happened, I was due to go to work doing a tile installation for a client who worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation. He went out on that emergency. I knew it was a real bad storm because even though I was over 25 miles from the touchdown, all the emergency sirens sounded and I heard from my client and he called when he was on the way there, and told me he was going to trust my company and left a key to get in. We finished the job, because he was gone for almost a whole week assisting FEMA with operations and life sustaining operations. Bless that man, and all the volunteers, workers, emergency personnel that assisted in making sure as many injured persons were getting the care to help them live again. Thank God we made it through that horrible day! The unfortunate tally of this violent tornado is 29 deaths and 353 injuries. Never forget!!!
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Photos of the Plainfield tornado’s damage, Courtesy of weather.gov:
Maps and photos assembled by numerous NWS Chicago staff including past work by Jim Allsopp (retired NWS), and former students Nicole Batzek and Cameron Nixon. It has been noted that there are no photos of this very devastating tornado, because the whole tornado was hidden behind a wall cloud of both rain and then debris. So warning on this tornado was a few years before Doppler radar improvements would be able to be made in order to be able to make a judgement call and activate the Emergency Alert System. earlier than it was done on that day
The late Dr. Theodore Fujita of the University of Chicago single handedly changed the trajectory of the whole way that damage, force, winds and other factors were measured. The Fujita scale was also updated since this major tornado hit Plainfield and replaced with the Enhanced Fujita Scale, or the EF Scale. The scale became operational as of February 1, 2007, and is now used to assign a tornado a ‘rating’ based on estimated wind speeds and related damage in the case of any spotted and/or officially acknowledged tornado.
Tom Skilling Courtesy of YouTube:
YouTube Video: “Eight Minutes in August: The F-5 Plainfield Tornado of 1990” Courtesy of @JolietMuseum on YouTube From: Jan 4, 2016
I had the opportunity to meet Tom Skilling personally in 2007 while attending the annual WGN/Fermilab Storm and Severe Weather Seminar. The seminar is a must attend for anyone into weather. Just attending it one time could be the difference between life and death in a storm situation. Thank you Tom, your expertise is always gladly needed, because you are so careful when you put together your daily forecasts.
1990: PLAINFIELD TORNADO
What is the difference between an EF5 and an EF1 Tornado?
Here is an example of the difference between the Tornado that hit Versatileer‘s city of Oak Forest (EF1) and the Great Plainfield tornado (then F5/Now EF5). Our power was out for days, and took over a year for recovery. As I just heard Plainfield never completely recovered, some major operations and damages took over a decade to finish, and we never recover from even one death, and we experienced 29 deaths. You can see that the damage between the above photos whereby you are able to see the specific path carved onto the ground from an aerial shot of the Plainfield tornado (very wide).
Photos of 2020 EF1 Tornado in Oak Forest, Illinois:
Images © 2020 Versatileer
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See Tips: Preparedness Before, During & After a Tornado:
The Danger of Tornadoes – Spring & Summer Weather Series + Resources For Recovery https://t.co/ELB7HwKljQ
— Jerry Marquardt (@Versatileer) April 11, 2022
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Be prepared, and be safe.
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3 thoughts on “The 32nd Anniversary of Strongest August Tornado, No Photo Ever Recorded – Plainfield, Illinois”
Oh my! That was awful!
Prayers to all the families that suffered tragedy.
OMG, what a tragedy! Natural disasters are so terrifying – there’s no bargaining with them, no calling SWAT teams on them, no getting Homeland Security after them. Brokenhearted over this, and others.