Years later, memories of Plainfield tornado remain powerful - chicagotribune.home free traceable letters for children radio glas drine uzivo
com Kevin Smith uses the working phone in what's left of his tornado-wrecked Plainfield home as he and his friends and daughter Amy Sue, 13, work to finish its demolition.
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Mugs in the news: $500K in fake returns to Marshalls, T.J.Maxx: cops Chicago Tribune, 435 N.Michigan Ave.For longtime Plainfield residents, Aug.28, 1990, is a touchstone, an indelible memory like where you were when the jets hit the World Trade Center or when Kennedy was shot.The tornado touched down outside Oswego about 3:15 p.m., and the 200 mph winds inside it etched a scar 16 miles long, stretching to the southwest side of Joliet.By 3:45, the sky was clear and the horizon lined with battered, leafless trees and ruined homes.In all, 1,500 buildings were damaged or destroyed, 300 people were injured and 29 were dead, victims of the most powerful tornado ever to strike the Chicago area.Twenty years later, the memories are powerful but distant.In 1990, Plainfield was a semirural village of 4,500 with a working grain elevator downtown.But farm fields began sprouting subdivisions in the early 1990s.The tornado, many longtime residents say, put their tiny village on the map — and soon it was no longer a tiny village.Plainfield High was rebuilt in 1993 and needed an addition within a year.The school district now has four high school campuses.The path the tornado carved is invisible, almost completely filled with curving cul-de-sacs of subdivisions.Today, Plainfield has more than 37,000 residents."I just remember what I saw on TV," said Summer Luman, 33, who grew up in Joliet.Before she moved to Plainfield nine years ago, all she knew about the town was its reputation as "tornado alley." Many of her neighbors today don't know about the 1990 twister at all, she said."I don't think I know anyone in my subdivision who's lived here longer than me," Luman said.But ask anyone who was in Plainfield about that August day 20 years ago, and they have a story.The air was hot and sticky in the late afternoon.The sky turned dark green, then black as night.Then wind whipped the rain against the rooftops, made raindrops sting bare skin.