PLAINFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Friday marked the 30th anniversary of a tornado that killed 29 people in Chicago’s far southwest suburbs when the powerful storm swept the village of Plainfield and adjacent communities.
The National Weather Service said the Aug. 28, 1990, tornado that also injured more than 300 people remains the only F5/EF5 rated tornado ever recorded in the U.S. in the month of August.
Before the Enhanced Fujita Scale was adopted in 2007, tornado damage was assessed using the Fujita Scale. On that scale, an F5 tornado has estimated wind speeds from 261 mph (420 kilometers per hour) to 318 mph (512 kph).
Such deadly winds are strong enough to sweep homes off their foundations and lift automobile-sized objects into the air.
“That late summer day will long be remembered by residents of northern Illinois due to the lives the tornadoes took and the devastation it caused,” the weather service said.
The afternoon tornado left a 16.4 mile-long (26.4-kilometer) path of destruction. In addition to the lives lost, the storm destroyed 470 homes and damaged 1,000 others.
The weather said the storm was shrouded in low clouds and rain, making it difficult to see. No photographs or videos of the tornado are known to exist.