Eye witness confirms vortex ripped off the roof of Ottawa business
An eyewitness watched Monday as a vortex ripped off the roof of Floor to Ceiling Tile in Ottawa, said a contractor for the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service in Chicago confirmed a brief EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 100 mph and a path about three-quarters of a mile long hit the north side of Ottawa during Monday's derecho.
A map of the storm's path shows the tornado following alongside the Illinois & Michigan Canal south of East Michigan Street and north of East Superior Street from just west of Route 23 to the Fox River.
Gilbert Sebenste, who surveyed the damage for the National Weather Service, said Ottawa's fire department took him to the hardest hit areas. One of those areas was along the canal at Route 23.
"Most of the city had 50 to 65 mph straight-line winds, including by the high school," Sebenste said in an email statement. "But here, an eyewitness watched the vortex rip the roof off of Floor to Ceiling Tile."
Sebenste said about a block and a half southeast, a tree was shredded; other trees around it were flattened, leading to an EF-1 rating.
"Surrounding that damage eastward, there were lots of 60 to 70 mph winds from the tornado causing numerous trees to be toppled or snapped, partially or completely," Sebenste said. "The tornado lifted just east of the Fox River."