Thundery downpours greet Chicagoans Saturday morning associated with a system which produced twisters Friday in Kansas and driving rains over sections of western Illinois. Totals north of St. Louis in McDonough County, Ill., reached 2.50” by nightfall Friday—much of it falling in only 30 minutes. An average of 24 computer projections indicates Chicago rainfall could reach 0.87”—but may range from as little as 0.75” in some areas to as much as 2” in others before winding down later Saturday.
More information is emerging on Thursday’s southern Wisconsin tornadoes. The deadliest of the nearly three dozen twisters—the Stoughton, Wis., storm—touched down at 6:05 p.m. Thursday and may have been on the ground 45 to 55 minutes, traveling very slowly by tornado standards—perhaps just 15 to 20 m.p.h., half a typical tornado’s forward speed. There has never been a stronger twister as far south in Wisconsin in August.
As many as two dozen twisters raked sections of 14 Wisconsin counties late Friday in that area’s worst single outbreak of severe weather this year. By nightfall, authorities confirmed at least one fatality and six injuries in hard hit Stoughton, just southeast of Madison. But damage was widespread across state, in a broad corridor from near LaCrosse east to Lake Michigan. There were reports of shingles and debris falling from thunderstorms—which towered to fifty thousand feet—as they swept through Jefferson County and the nearby Milwaukee area.
Earlier, waves of thunderstorms produced blinding downpours in some of Chicago’s far northwest suburbs. Belvidere was swamped for a time by 3.50” while Woodstock in McHenry County was hit with 2” and Rockford’s 2.23” tally set a new record for August 18.
Thursday’s rains continued to help reduce the severity of this summer’s drought in Illinois.