image_pdfimage_print Shane Nicholson Managing Editor

An April tornado which struck Rochelle and Fairdale, leaving two dead in the small town, was the only storm responsible for any deaths in Illinois this year, and the strongest tornado seen in the U.S. during 2015.

That tornado, a high end EF-4 storm with winds topping out at 200 mph, highlighted the importance of not ignoring early warnings to area residents.

Experts say the random nature of tornadoes makes it appear as though a certain area is being targeted by the storms like the one that devastated Fairdale.

“It was Oklahoma, it was Alabama, and now, after Fairdale, it looks like it could be here,” WIFR Channel 23 meteorologist Aaron Wilson said.

The April 9 tornado tore a path over 30 miles long, from Franklin Grove to farmland just northwest of Kirkland. Experts say had the storm hit a more densely populated area the death total would likely have been much higher.

“Part of it is where we’re building homes now,” says Wilson. “A lot of this used to be open land, but now you’ve got houses there that can end up in the path of something like this, even if it didn’t this time.” See more…