Storm cleanup continues near Elburn, Sandwich
By Linda Girardi For The Beacon-News October 27, 2010 6:18PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Strong winds and gusts of 47 mph whipped across the cornfields along Francis Road Wednesday, making it difficult for landowners to begin cleaning up the mess left by a low-intensity tornado that crossed four farmsteads a day earlier.
NIU Meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste said the tornado formed in a cornfield east of Meredith Road and Route 38 near Elburn at about 6:55 a.m. Tuesday. He said the tornado tracked down Francis Road, curved around a couple of bends in the road, then turned north near Beith Road.
While there were sheaths of metal strewn in neatly harvested fields, the heaviest damage flattened two barns, toppled a metal grain bin and snapped a utility pole at the base on a Francis Road farm.
“The damage was consistent with a low-intensity F1 tornado,” Sebenste said. F1 tornados typically have wind speeds topping out at 100 to 110 mph.
The tornado caused structural damage to two farmhouses, destroyed an older barn and garage, pulled the vinyl off of a steel frame structure, destroyed a tool shed and pulled down a vinyl fence, Sebenste said.
“This was considered a fairly weak tornado, but it still produced significant damage,” he said.
Spotty power outages
In Sandwich, the wind broke 48 large electric transmission poles carryng lines across both East and West Sandwich roads Tuesday. Eighteen others were damaged. The poles fell north of Sedgewick Road and west of Cook Road.
The roads, closed Tuesday, had opened by Wednesday afternoon.
ComEd has set up a command center in Sandwich to deal with the broken poles, according to company spokesman Matt Levin. It could take several weeks to complete the fix, Levin said.
ComEd had re-routed the power in that area, so customers were still receiving electricity.
By Wednesday afternoon, about 12,900 ComEd customers in the west and northern regions (which include Aurora and Sandwich) were still without power, and the windy conditions were still causing some sporadic outages. Stoplights were out along Route 59 north of Interstate 88 Wednesday afternoon, causing traffic back ups.
According to the National Weather Service, the high winds should diminish to a breezy 15 to 20 mph by this afternoon.
Staff writer Matt Hanley contributed to this story.