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25 Years Ago: EF-5 Tornado Strikes Plainfield


The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will generate a lot of attention this week. But, 15 years earlier another storm directly affected Northeast Illinois. This Friday will be 25 years since the Plainfield tornado that killed 29 people and devastated the Will County community. College of DuPage Meteorology 
professor Paul Sirvatka still studies the storm.

He tells Reporter Brian O'Keefe despite its strength, the 1990 storm caught forecasters off guard. Sirvatka says meteorologists expected large hail and maybe some damaging winds, so there was a severe thunderstorm watch issued for that day. He says there was something in the environment that the storm latched onto and quickly spun up a very large tornado that stayed on the ground for a half hour. 

Sirvatka says the Plainfield tornadoand hurricane Katrina should serve as a constant reminder of the power storms can unleash. He says warning systems are much better today than they were 25 years ago, but the technology only works if people react to the warning.