A wind turbine that was in the path of a damaging tornado the night before caught fire on Tuesday. It happened near West Brooklyn, Illinois in Lee County. On Monday night, a powerful storm system spawned an EF-2 tornado in the area. Surface wind speeds were estimated at 130 mph. However, the wind within a tornado increases with height. The wind turbines in this area reach up several hundred feet. At that level, a tornado’s wind speed are significantly higher.
The fire went out and did not cause any injuries. WQAD Meteorologist Eric Sorensen speculates it certainly could’ve been caused by the tornado. “This wind farm is in the path of the tornado. If the tornado caused the blades to go out of sync, it could’ve affected the performance of the generator. Much like a bearing on the wheel of a car or truck, if it goes out and wobbles, heat will build up due to friction.” Eric admits, he is just speculating. He also says it could’ve been due to a lightning strike, but the turbines are designed with lightning in mind since they are so tall.
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