Brief tornado confirmed on far north side of Naperville
A rare February tornado briefly touched down on the far north side of Naperville Monday morning, the National Weather Service said.
A trained spotter reported the tornado near the Herrick Lake Forest Preserve. The weather service confirmed the short-lived tornado lasted about two minutes, with estimated peak winds of 80 miles per hour.
Tornadoes are fairly rare this time of year. Since 1950, only eight prior tornadoes have been recorded during the month of February within a 23-county area that includes a large portion of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, National Weather Service records show.
"Seven of those actually came on the same date back on Feb. 28, 2017," said Rafal Ogorek, a meteorologist with the weather service's Romeoville office. "Seven of those tornadoes occurred then, and one tornado had occurred in 2006. So this is really only the third date in recorded history for our office that we've had a tornado occur here in February."
The same storm system that unleashed blizzard conditions on parts of California produced multiple tornadoes in Kansas and Oklahoma Sunday night before moving into the Midwest.
"When that low-pressure system moved northward, it drew up a bunch of warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, and that brought conditions that we typically see more so here in the springtime," Ogorek said.
The tornado touched down near Naperville North High School at 9:52 a.m., tracked north for about 1.4 miles and ended near I-88 between Mill and Washington streets, the weather service said. Video showed a funnel cloud continuing at least for a mile farther north over Herrick Lake Forest Preserve.
The weather spotter witnessed the tornado near Washington Street and Warrenville Road. The weather service also confirmed a brief tornado hit far western Joliet. Both tornadoes have been assigned a preliminary rating of EF-0 on the six-level Enhanced Fujita scale.
"It was just warm and moist enough for there to be severe weather and tornadoes today," Ogorek said.
The weather service did a damage assessment Monday. The tornado caused primarily tree damage along its path in Naperville. A tree was uprooted along Mill Street north of Diehl Road by the parking lot of an office building complex.
Radar indicated an area of rotation in central DuPage County around 9:45 a.m., and a tornado warning was issued. The warning expired at 10:15 a.m. Monday.
Above-average temperatures are expected through Wednesday.