A tornado hit the city of Springfield tonight shortly after 8:00 pm. Lots of damage. So far, no reports of casualties. So far.
It missed my neighborhood in the northwest part of the city but we still have roofing shingles all over the place and it destroyed the trampoline in our back yard. The worst damage seems to have occurred in a swathe running west to east in the southern part of the city. Hard hit include the White Oaks Mall area, Jerome and the South Central part of the city.
Update 11:00 pm: Power is still out in much of the city.
Marie at Disarranging Mine was live blogging the tornado event but her posts suddenly stopped at 8:23. I'm assuming that's when the power went out.
It looks like this thing went through the city from a line roughly running from the White Oaks area northeast to the intersection of Dirksen and Clearlake on the east side.
I don’t believe there has ever been anything like this in the city in the 43 years I or members of my family have lived here with the exception of the 1978 ice storm.
Update 11:10 pm: Both WMAY and WICS have pretty good live coverage. I'm assuming other local media outlets are doing as well but I'm watching/listening to these two.
Update 11:15 pm: I've lost blogger Jerome Prophet's cell phone number. Shit. The Village of Jerome was pretty hard hit and I can't even call him. Some friend I am.
Update 11:25 pm: Man, this thing is really starting to sink in. Right after the storm, I went out looking for damage in my section of our neighborhood (I’m a block representative in our neighborhood association). All looked pretty good; a few small braches down, some roofing shingles in yards but that was about it. I felt relieved. My first reaction was to let that be the end of it and assume the rest of the city was OK too. Then I admitted I was kidding myself and began to tune into local radio and TV. My suppressed fears were realized: the city had been struck by a tornado.
I think I already knew this as my family and I were sitting in the basement listening to the house shake rattle and roll overheard for about ten minutes tonight. Looking at all the weather data at the time, I had estimated that it would move slightly to our south. I didn’t realize just how slightly.
While the storm was passing the pressure in our house changed and our basement door shook. We heard a whistling sound from the basement window. I’ve never experienced this before. It turned out we had a window upstairs open a few inches that was allowing the wind (and rain, dammit!) into the house. But even that didn’t explain the intensity of what we were experiencing.
Geez, and there are more storms on the way.
Update 11:46 pm: District 186 schools will be closed tomorrow. I suspect a lot of the city will be shut down tomorrow.
Update 11:55 pm: Jim Leach on WMAY just made a great point: The reason we haven’t had reports of lots of casualties is that people headed the warnings. We did and thank God others in the path of this thing did too. It sucks that so much damage occurred but who gives a shit as long as we get through this without any major injuries or deaths.
Update 12:06 am: I'm heading to bed. Good luck Springfield; we'll pick up the pieces and be even better in the end.
Update 2:00 am: You gotta be shittin’ me. Another warning? I’m out of bed and have the family in the basement again. I think someone is trigger-happy on the warning button. The radar doesn’t look like tornado to me.
Update 2:25 am: Tornado round 2 fizzed. I guess going to work tomorrow is now out of the question.
Update 2:42 am: Back to bed.
Update by dawn'as early light: Not much sleep but I'm going into work anyway. Daylight has revealed no new damage to my place. Much of the rest of the city, particularly in the south sections, appears to be in bad shape. No more updates on this post.