‘Probable’ Tornado Under Investigation In Waukegan Area

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — The National Weather Service on Tuesday was investigating a “probable” tornado in Waukegan.

The suspected tornado was spotted near the Waukegan Airport and close to the boundary with Beach Park.

Video shot from a distance by radio podcaster Craig Mivshek seemed to show a funnel cloud that might have been touching down. Mivshek was preparing for a podcast at the Waukegan Airport when he saw the suspected tornado and caught it on video.

Meanwhile, video from Sylwia Borawski showed cars on the road as debris flew around during the worst of the storm at York House Road and Lewis Avenue in Waukegan.

As CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist noted that the likely tornadic activity was very much isolated in Lake County – with severe weather missing downtown Chicago altogether on Tuesday night.

High-resolution radar from the time the suspected tornado was reported, around 6:40 p.m. does not show the classic hook-echo shape of a tornado. But it does show the intensity as the storm system headed out over Lake Michigan and prompted a marine warning from the NWS.

But radar showing velocity information did indicate rotation in the storm system.

The National Weather Service issued a report saying the path of wind damage proceeded toward the lakefront in Waukegan, leaving commercial buildings with minor damage. A car tipped or rolled onto its top, and tree damage in the Lyons Woods forest preserve.

One person suffered a minor injury, the NWS said.

The NWS suspects a tornado based on visual evidence, but investigators will make a final determination on Wednesday.

Waukegan Suspected Tornado

Damage from a suspected tornado in Waukegan on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. (Credit: Guadalupe Carranza)

Waukegan Suspected Tornado

Damage from a suspected tornado in Waukegan on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. (Credit: Guadalupe Carranza)

Waukegan Suspected Tornado

Damage from a suspected tornado in Waukegan on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. (Credit: Guadalupe Carranza)

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar surveyed the damage in Waukegan Tuesday night – and damage was not hard to find.

At York House Road and Lewis Avenue, some traffic lights were damaged while street signs were left bent. Power was also cut for some local businesses, and crews were working on restoration Tuesday night.

“All of a sudden the wind picked up, the wind picked up, the wind picked up. My son actually just walked out the door to walk up the street to go to the baseball field across the street, and all of a sudden, everything just started to blow,” said Margaret Buffin. “We saw the fence here blowing in every direction, and literally within 30 seconds, 45 seconds, it was over.”

A Citgo gas station at York House and Lewis was seen with its sign ripped off. There was also severe damage at an Ace Hardware, where a wrought-iron fence was left bent and buckled, and at a nearby Taco Bell, where the drive-through window was shattered.

Employees said they pulled customers from the restaurant into a freezer in the back to ride out the storm.

“We were working – just making some orders for the customers, because we have a line in the drive-through – and then the cashier on the window, she said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, look!’ and then everything blew up. The window blew out, you know, like all the window, the glass blew out,” said Taco Bell employee Guadalupe Carranza. “We were scared. We just pulled the people to the back of the restaurant where there’s like a little room.”

Trees also came down in a subdivision at Ganster Road and Forest Drive in Beach Park.

Crews in Waukegan were expected to be out through the night, and were likely to have a clearer picture of the damage come the morning.

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