An epic battle of superior strength and endurance ensues as Mother Nature's devastatingly windy beast takes on one of man's most unstoppable forces, an 1880 ton, 12 car freight train. Full report on the aftermath below.
While this particular tornado wasn't a gnarly beast, it did its share of extreme damage to local homes and businesses as it traveled along its 13.2 mile path of destruction. This rare January tornado did not let this speeding locomotive out of its sights as it bore down on the tracks, taking most of the train's cars with it. The windy action begins around the 1 minute mark. (Hat Tip To Ralph!)
Excerpt from the National Weather Service report:
Tornado Rating —- EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale
Maximum winds —- 136 to 165 MPH
Path Length —- 13.2 miles
Maximum width —- Around 100 yards
THE TORNADO THEN CROSSED THE BOONE/MCHENRY COUNTY LINE AS A WEAK EF0 TORNADO WITH JUST MINOR TREE DAMAGE AT THIS POINT. IT CROSSED HUNTER ROAD AND CONTINUED TO TRACK NORTHEAST ACROSS RYAN ROAD AS AN EF0 AND CAUSED MAINLY MINOR TREE DAMAGE. IT CROSSED WHITE OAKS ROAD THEN IT UPROOTED A HARDWOOD TREE AND SNAPPED OFF PINE TREES AT THEIR BASE ALONG MAXON ROAD. THIS DAMAGE CONTINUED TO BE EF0 DAMAGE WITH WINDS ESTIMATED TO BE BETWEEN 75 AND 80 MPH. THE TORNADO INTENSIFIED AS IT MOVED TOWARD THE TOWN OF LAWRENCE...WHERE IT PRODUCED THE WORST DAMAGE IN MCHENRY COUNTY.
THE TORNADO THEN MOVED ACROSS THE CHICAGO AND NORTHWESTERN RAILROAD WHERE IT BLEW 12 RAILROAD FREIGHT CARS OFF THE TRACK. THE TRAIN WAS MOVING AT THE TIME THE TORNADO HIT IT...SO AS THE MAIN ENGINE STOPPED...THE REMAINING CARS ON THE TRACK CONTINUED ALONG IT AND SLAMMED INTO THE FRONT PART OF THE TRAIN. THIS CAUSED A FEW MORE CARS TO DERAIL...INCLUDING ONE CONTAINING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS THAT CAUSED THE EVACUATION OF THE TOWN OF LAWRENCE. THE DAMAGE IN LAWRENCE WAS RATED AS EF2 WITH WINDS UP TO 110 MPH.