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Tornadoes in the Midwest

While other states may record more tornadoes per year than Illinois, Illinois still ranks as 9th in number of tornadoes. But even more significant is the severity of tornadoes. According to The Tornado Project, on the chart of the ten worst tornadoes, Illinois is the only state listed more than once - and it is listed 4 times!

April 21, 1967. ....a time many of us still remember.

The time of the tornado that struck Belvidere was instrumental in the high injury and death count. At 3:50 pm a violent tornado struck as children were boarding buses at Belvidere High School. Buses were overturned, 24 people were killed and 410 injured. 127 homes were destroyed with another 379 damaged. As the storm continued into McHenry county, another tornado touched down and headed toward Woodstock. The Belvidere-Woodstock tornadoes covered 25 miles.

At about 5 p.m., tornadoes struck Fox River Grove, Barrington Hills and Lake Zurich, producing a path of destruction nine miles long. The tornado killed one person and injured nearly 100. It destroyed 140 homes and damaged another 463.

Just before 5:30, the most devastating tornado of the afternoon touched down near Palos Hills. It continued through Oak Lawn, Hometown, Evergreen Park and the south side of Chicago; a 16-mile-long path, killing 33 people and injuring 500. It destroyed 152 homes and damaged more than 900.

A funnel cloud was observed passing over Romeoville and Lemont. It touched down east of Lagrange Road near 88th Avenue and 105th Street. It passed over the Tri-State Tollway then destroyed a drive-in theater. Many deaths and injuries occurred when the tornado hit a busy intersection at Southwest Highway and 95th Street during rush hour.

The tornado took several more lives when it hit a mobile home park and a skating rink near Cicero Avenue and Southwest Highway. It finally diminished in intensity as it moved through Evergreen Park and the south side of Chicago. It moved out over Lake Michigan near 79th Street.

Other tornadoes struck near Elgin, Geneva, and from Addison to Schiller Park.

The Chicago area tornadoes were part of a large tornado outbreak which also affected parts of northern Illinois, northern Missouri, southeast Iowa and southern lower Michigan. There were 19 tornadoes in Illinois.

The intense storm system moving through the Midwest on that day produced tornadoes with winds speeds reaching between 207-260 mph and destruction and damages near $50 million but even worse it took the lives of 58 of our neighbors and friends. Many which could have been saved with more awareness and preparation in times of disaster.

Information obtained from the National Weather Service of Chicago Illinois

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