It arrived with no warning, killing 29 people, injuring 350 and destroying hundreds of homes as it cut a nearly 16-mile path from Wheatland Township through Plainfield to Crest Hill and Joliet.
Twenty-two years later, anyone old enough to remember can probably tell you exactly where they were when the Plainfield tornado struck at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, 1990.
Ironically, the storm that caused so much destruction — even demolishing and — also put Plainfield on the map, helping transform it from a small town of 4,500 to a suburb of more than 39,000.
To date, the 1990 disaster remains the only F5 tornado that’s hit the U.S. during August.
Tuesday morning, WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling reflected on the weather conditions that created the deadly tornado on his weather blog:
The heat/humidity combo, in concert with a southbound cold front, the presence of an unusually strong late August jet stream and a dizzyingly sharp vertical decline in temperatures, were part of an atmospheric set-up which rendered the atmosphere explosively unstable--a perfect breeding ground for tornadic thunderstorms, which erupted during the afternoon. From those powerhouse storms, the devastating Plainfield tornado evolved. … The tornado emanated from a southeastbound supercell which had spawned damaging straightline surface winds the length of DeKalb and in sections of west and south Kane County. But it was over the Fox River at Oswego, the thunderstorm was to go tornadic--a violent vortex which roared 15 miles across Crest Hill and Plainfield, destroying everything with which it came in contact.
Check out videos of the destruction left by the tornado on Plainfield native Roy Taylor's website. (Note: Click on the "YouTube" logo to view a larger version of the videos)
Read more on Plainfield Patch: