David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

Rare Late November Tornado Touches Down in Illinois, Significant Damage, Injuries

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Monday, November 22, 2010

Photo: Nicole Bradley

Destruction lies in the wake of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped through parts of the Midwest Monday.

Among the hardest hit, northern Illinois, where there were several reports of tornado touchdowns and significant damage.

 News sources are reporting at least three children were hurt in Caledonia, Illinois, when their school

Photo: The Rockford Register-Star

 bus was flipped in the severe storms.  There have been no reports as to the extent of their injuries.

 CNN is reporting Caledonia’s town hall was destroyed when the storms blew through.  Elsewhere in the town, at least one home was completely destroyed and power was knocked out to about 500 residents.  There was significant damage done to several other homes and businesses in that area.

 Severe weather was also reported in Wisconsin where meteorologists from the National Weather Service will have to determine if a tornado touched down there.

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November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tornadoes & Hurricane Force Winds Rip Through The Midwest

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NBC NEWS PHOTO: Storms cause damage to a home near Chicago Tuesday morning.

A powerful storm system is moving through the nation’s mid-section.  A low pressure system is sweeping an intense cold front through the Midwest, with blizzard conditions in the extreme north, destructive winds in the Great Lakes region, and tornadoes from Texas to Kentucky.

In Chicago, forecasters predict the storm could be the most powerful to hit Illinois in over 70 years.

As of Tuesday morning, tornado reports have come in from several states.  In Indiana, tornadoes were reported in Kokomo and Wanatah. 

A roof was ripped off of a home in Peotone, Illinois.  The people were injured there.  Forecasters have not confirmed tornadoes yet, however they will be out soon to survey the area and determine what caused the damage.

More than 62,000 customers were without power in Chicago.  More than 40,000 reportedly lost power in Indiana.

Hurricane-force winds are being reported this afternoon in northern Illinois and Indiana and through the Dakotas.  The eastern Great Lakes are expecting waves to reach 25 feet with fears of beach erosion. 

NBC News is reporting 300 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

The National Weather Service said the storm is one of the strongest to hit the region in decades.

“We’re expecting sustained winds on the order of 35 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph throughout the afternoon,” Edward Fenelon, a weather service meteorologist in Romeoville, Ill, told NBC News.  He said the storm’s central pressure is equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane.

“This is a very different type of event,” Fenelon said. “But that does give an indication of the magnitude of the winds. This isn’t something you see even every year.”

Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Allsopp tells NBC that the storm could be among the worst to hit Illinois in more than 70 years.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Powerful Hurricane Earl Has U.S. In His Sight

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Officials in North Carolina announced an evacuation for the Ocracoke Island beginning at 5 a.m.  NBC News is reporting tourists are being ordered to leave the barrier island which is only accessible by ferry.  At this time, year-round residents on the Ocracoke Island are being urged to evacuate but have the option to stay.  That could change if the powerful storm shifts from its current path.

Hurricane Earl, a powerful Category 4 hurricane is forcing officials up and down the east coast to get a plan ready in case the monster storm makes landfall.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported gusty winds from Earl’s outer fringes are creating waves that are pounding the Grand Turk shore. 

“We can hear the waves crashing against the reef really seriously,” Kirk Graff, owner of the Captain Kirks Flamingo Cove Marina told NBC News, Tuesday.  “Anybody who hasn’t secured their boats by now is going to regret it.”

The hurricane’s wrath is two-fold this go around.  First, the usual damage and risk of injury or death that comes with any powerful hurricane.  But Earl is whipping up a second problem.  His expected arrival comes on the heels of the busy Labor Day Weekend; beach-front businesses usually do a great deal of business on a hot, sunny Labor Day Weekend.  But with a powerful force of nature eyeing North Carolina’s coast, tourists appear to be checking out.

Forecasters say it’s too soon to know exactly what path Earl with take over the next few days.  The likely track would take the storm’s center just along the east coast, possibly making partial landfall somewhere along North Carolina’s coastline.  This storm doesn’t appear to be taking direct aim at the east coast.  But, as it rides north, just barley hugging the coastline by Thursday night, coastal areas can expect hurricane conditions.

But at the same time don’t forget, these storms can, and often do, change paths.  Hurricanes are very unpredictable and can change at any time.  Everyone along the east-coast, including places like North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware should keep a close eye on this storm as it may affect those areas with powerful hurricane-force winds, storm surge and flooding.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Polls, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Killed In Minnesota Tornadoes This Week

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com]Sunday, June 20, 2010

 At least 3 people were killed in Minnesota when a line of intense storms plowed through Thursday evening.

Angie Woodside told The Weather Channel about taking cover in the basement as the tornado approached.  Angie says her mother-in-law, Kathy, 66, refused to go underground despite the warnings.

“She told me she would not go down in one,” Angie Woodside said Friday, the day after Kathy was killed when the tornado picked her up and threw her 200 feet into a field near her home.

In northwestern Minnesota,79-year-old Margie Schulke was killed when the intense twisters destroyed her home with her inside.  58

Courtesy: The Weather Channel, Iwitness Carl Becker

 year old Wes Michaels was also killed when the gas station he owned was leveled by the violent storm.

 In all, 3 people were killed in Minnesota and dozens more were injured in Thursday’s storms. 

Officials report hundreds of homes were damaged by the extreme weather.  The National Weather Service reports 36 tornado sightings Thursday.

Severe storms have wrecked havoc on several mid-west states for several days in a row this week with some states expecting even more this weekend.

Sunday’s Severe Weather Outlook For The Midwest

David Shepherd – Storm Chaser [dshepherd@wtwo.com]

*Note:  The information on the weather blog is not updated regularly.  The forecast is based on data collected early in the day.  For the most up-to-date information on severe weather, consult your local media outlets.

Father’s Day thunderstorms are in the forecast Sunday for the Dakotas, Nebraska, Indiana and northern Kentucky, according to meteorologists. 

Some storms will likely turn severe as they enter a very hot, humid, and unstable air mass. 

Severe storms are expected to pack damaging winds, lightning, hail and isolated tornadoes.  Rainfall estimates of 3 inches for parts of the Midwestern states Sunday.


June 20, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment