First Lego League - "Nature's Fury" Resources

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FIRST LEGO League's 2013 Challenge theme is "Nature's Fury". Here are some NOAA and National Weather Service links to information about natural disasters that may be helpful to FLL teams.  FIRST LEGO League Nature's Fury logo

Northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana, including the Chicago and Rockford metro areas, are no strangers to natural disasters. The local area is vulnerable to winter storms, flooding, drought, extremes of heat and cold, and a number of thunderstorm hazards, including tornadoes, flash floods, lightning, large hail and damaging winds. Areas along the Lake Michigan shore are also vulnerable to lakeshore flooding, seiches, and rip currents. This graph shows the number of storm-related fatalities in Illinois since 1995.

graph of Illinois storm-related fatalities since 1995

However, more people die from exposure to temperature extremes (by an order of magnitude) than from all storms. 

graph of all Illinois weather fatalities 

It should be noted that National Weather Service only documents fatalities that are directly caused by the weather event. Most traffic fatalities on wet or snow covered roads are considered to be indirect deaths.

Northern Illinois weather disasters poster

Here are some links to information about some of the local area's worst weather disasters;

Summary of the worst weather events of the Century (1900-1999) 

Links to detailed summaries of specific events -


April 1963 Kankakee Il - Medaryville IN Tornado

April 1965 Crystal Lake Palm Sunday Tornado

April 1967 Belvidere, Lake Zurich, Oak Lawn Tornado Outbreak

August 1990 Plainfield Tornado

Chicago Area Tornado Climatology

Winter Storms

January 1967 Big Snow

February 2011 Blizzard

Side by Side Comparison of Chicago's 4 Worst Snow Storms

History of 10 inch snowstorms for Chicago


2006 Labor Day Rockford Flash Flood

2008 floods - Pontiac January , Watseka, Rensselaer Januarynorthern IL and northwest IN September

April 2013 Record Flooding

Heat Waves and Cold Snaps

July 1995 Chicago Heat Wave

Chicago's Coldest Temperature January 1985

Miscellaneous Significant or Record Weather Information

Science and Weather Event Studies

You can also scan through our Archive of Top News Stories for summaries of significant weather events since December 2005. 

Chicago's official records

Rockford's official records

Bring your FLL team to the National Weather Service office!

If your FLL group would like to visit the National Weather Service office in Romeoville, we will be holding an Open House Saturday September 21 from 900 AM to 300 PM. If that date doesn't work for your group, small group tours can be arranged by contacting Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Allsopp at or call 815-834-1435 from between the hours of 800 AM and 800 PM. Tours can be arranged Monday through Friday 800 AM to 430 PM, excluding federal holidays, when staffing is available.

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