Monday, March 27

Summary of damage survey results from the March 12 tornadic storms over central Illinois          Send a link to a friend

[MARCH 27, 2006]  Damage survey teams from the National Weather Service in Lincoln conducted surveys March 13 and 14 of the tornadoes that struck the area on March 12. The survey results are as follows:

One large tornadic supercell thunderstorm first moved into central Illinois on the evening of March 12, producing a number of tornadoes.

The first tornado, the one that hit the Springfield area, first moved into central Illinois from Greene County, near the town of Barrow, crossing into Scott County about three miles southwest of Manchester at 7:29 p.m. The tornado continued on the ground to the northeast, moving through Manchester at 7:33 p.m. and then crossing into Morgan County about two miles northeast of Manchester at 7:36 p.m. The storm continued northeast along Route 267, moving through Murrayville at 7:42 p.m. It continued northeast, crossing Route 104 about 1.5 miles north of Franklin. It then crossed the Sangamon County line 4.5 miles southwest of New Berlin at 8:02 p.m. In this portion of the damage path, the tornado varied from one-eighth to one-fourth of a mile in width. Damage observed was of F1 intensity on the Fujita scale, with estimated wind speeds of around 100 mph.

The tornado continued northeast over Sangamon County along the Northfolk and Southern Railroad tracks to about two miles north of Loami, then to three-fourths mile south of Curran and then to mile marker 92 on Interstate 72 at 8:30 p.m. before moving into the city of Springfield. In Sangamon County the tornado gradually widened to between one-half and three-quarters of a mile in width. The storm was of F1 intensity, with estimated wind speeds of around 100 mph, strengthening to F2 intensity, around 120 mph, as it passed north of Loami, remaining that strength as it moved into the city of Springfield.

Damage from the storm over Scott, Morgan and rural Sangamon County consisted of the snapping of power poles and major tree damage -- either ripped up or uprooted. Numerous farm buildings, both Morton-type buildings and barns, were damaged or destroyed, as were numerous grain bins. One mobile home was destroyed.

In Springfield, the tornado continued into town with maximum intensity of F2. For specific details on the damage in Springfield, see the Lincoln National Weather Service office Web postings:

The path length of this tornado was 44 miles in length, from Scott County to Springfield. The storm was on the ground southwest of Scott County, and statements from the St. Louis office will provide additional details on that portion of the damage path. [Details]

A second tornado formed in the city of Springfield, east of the termination of the first one. Its path length was four miles. [Details]

A third tornado was produced from the supercell as it moved over Morgan and rural Sangamon counties earlier. This smaller tornado touched down just northeast of Franklin at 7:58 p.m., crossing the county line at four miles northeast of Franklin at 8 p.m. It continued northeast, lifting two miles north-northeast of Loami at 8:11 p.m. This storm was slightly weaker in intensity than the larger one located farther north; it was F1 intensity, with around 100 mph winds and 100-200 yards wide. The path length was 11.5 miles. Damage with this tornado consisted of power poles snapped, farm buildings damaged and tree damage. [Details]

A fourth tornado was produced east of Springfield, 3.75 miles south of Riverton, at 8:32 p.m. It moved northeast between Dawson and Buffalo -- 1.5 miles west of Buffalo -- and lifted just south of the Logan County line five miles northeast of Buffalo at 8:55 p.m. This tornado started as an F0 tornado about 100 yards wide and quickly strengthened to F2 intensity, with estimated wind speeds of 120 mph and a maximum width of 200 yards. It weakened to F1 intensity and was about 100 yards wide when it ended. Total path was 12.5 miles in length. Damage from this storm consisted of damage to barn buildings and some significant house damage. Power poles were again snapped, along with major tree damage. [Details]

[to top of second column]

This tornado then touched down again in Logan County, two miles southeast of Lake Fork, at 8:57 p.m. and was on the ground for another 2.5 miles before lifting 2.5 miles southwest of Mount Pulaski at 8:59 p.m. The damage path was wider, about one-half mile wide, and again of F2 intensity, about 120 mph. Damage in this touchdown was similar to the rural damage seen earlier, with numerous power poles snapped. In addition, a 400-foot microwave radio tower was toppled.

A fifth tornado, east of the previous storm in Logan County, was found in the survey. The tornado tracked from 6.25 miles south of Mount Pulaski at the Logan County line to three miles south of Mount Pulaski from 9 to 9:02 p.m. This one was again rated as F2 intensity, with wind speeds of 120 mph and a width of 200 yards. Path length was 3.5 miles. Damage from this tornado was again similar to the rural damage seen earlier, with numerous power poles snapped off. In addition, three or four large steel power towers were toppled. [Details]

In addition to the tornado damage, strong straight-line damaging winds were produced in a number of areas on March 12. Wind damage was found in southeast Logan County, southeast of Mount Pulaski and west of Latham. Wind damage was also found by Macon County ESDA personnel in extreme northwest Macon County, about five to seven miles west of Maroa. Damage in these areas consisted of minor damage to homes, damage to farm buildings and power poles.

Another area of wind damage was found from one mile southeast to two miles east of Cornland in southeast Logan County. Damage to farm buildings and trees occurred around 8:51 p.m.

Finally, in southeast McLean County, wind damage occurred in the town of Saybrook. Survey results suggest that a small microburst hit the town, damaging a Morton-type barn west of town and damaging numerous trees in town. One older building was blown down in town. Damage was about five blocks wide, with estimated wind speeds of around 70 mph. The damage was produced by a line of thunderstorms that moved through the area around 3:38 a.m. on March 13.

About four miles northeast of Saybrook, another Morton-type barn was totally destroyed by straight-line damaging winds. This damage was caused by the evening tornadic storm that hit the Springfield area and occurred at 9:23 p.m.

For additional details and later updates and photos on this event, see the Lincoln National Weather Service postings on the Web:

Fujita scale

  • F0 -- 40 to 72 mph

  • F1 -- 73 to 112 mph

  • F2 -- 113 to 157 mph

  • F3 -- 158 to 206 mph

  • F4 -- 207 to 260 mph

  • F5 -- 261 to 318 mph

Damage survey team members: Ernest Goetsch, meteorologist in charge; Kirk Huettl, meteorologist; Mike Hardiman, meteorologist; Chuck Schaffer, meteorologist

[News release from the National Weather Service office in Lincoln]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor