Aug 5, 2008

Storm Spectacle

Here's a news story that ran on the online version of our local paper:

By D. Roemer and J. Wilson

A storm that dumped between two and three inches of rain on Freeport and the surrounding area Monday had emergency services chasing damage wrought by lightning strikes, strong wind, and rain.

Winds were clocked winds at about 55 m.p.h. winds just north of Pearl City, said Stephenson County Director of Emergency Services Terry Groves.

The storm that blew up across the region lasted for about two hours, and began at about 4:30 p.m.

Calls were coming to emergency responders from rural villages and townships that lost power.

-Dozens of Calls-
In Freeport, on Clark Street north of downtown, emergency crews battled a storm sewer that couldn’t handle the deluge: water shot more than two feet high from a manhole, flooding the street, which became impassible by 6:30 p.m.

Some roads were blocked by tree limbs as emergency service vehicles tried to reach homes.

Residents in the 1800 block of Woodside Drive requested help for lightning strikes to homes and trees, but responders reported having to take alternative routes as tree limbs blocked streets needed to get to the homes.

Emergency crews also responded to a call from the 1500 block of S. Demeter Drive where a tree was on fire behind a house. Churches also requested aid during the storm.

Emergency crews reported trees blocking the entrance and exit to Royal Oaks, a subdivision west and south of Freeport, and also on Mill Grove Road, in Loran Township.

The Fire Chief said firefighters in the city received more than a dozen calls for assistance during the storm.

-Boom! And Gone!-
Wind and lightening hit residents on the south side of town the worst, he said.
On Oakhill and Fairway drives, the storm took out a five-year-old maple at a home on Oakhill Drive. The speed with which it split in half was amazing.

“It was just boom! And gone,” the homeowner said. “Nobody was hurt and the house is fine. The trees can be replaced,” she said. Her neighbors lost trees too. They live directly across the street. Part of a tree rested on their new roof. And two other trees were ravaged.

Some streets were either under water or just about under water in the city, according to Assistant Director of County Emergency Services. Damage assessments are ongoing.

-Losing Power, Trees-
Rural towns, residents were also lucky, some calling newspaper saying they were without power. The city suffered from downed limbs and a power outage. “We’ve got no power. There are a few limbs down, but it’s not bad. It tore a transformer off. There was a lot of wind and quite a bit of rain. There was no major damage besides the power outage, though,” said the Mayor.

Freeport Rural Fire Chief said his agency received a few calls for power outages and said power was out for some residents. “We’re directing firefighters to them,” he said.

Cornfields were nearly flattened off U.S. 20 just east of Rock City Road between Ridott and Pecatonica and Jo Daviess County had several roads wash out.

-Mount Morris Hammered-
In Mount Morris, there was severe damage. A spokesman from the Mount Morris Fire Protection District asked that everyone remain away from downed wires. Calls are being based upon severity. If a call has been made requesting assistance, please do not call again, firefighters there said in a prepared statement.

ComEd has been advised but there is so much damage firefighters there said they don’t know when they’ll respond. Further press releases will be released today.
Mount Morris resident Dave Unger said there are a lot of trees down in the village and power was out for hours.

“Some people said they thought there was small tornado. When it hit, it was pretty dark and it was hard to see a lot of things. I think they’re going to be looking at things tomorrow just to see how much damage there was,” he said.

A huge tree came down and blocked him from leaving his home, he said.

“Neighbors were getting together using their chain saws to cut up trees. People were coming home from work. It was kind of scary,” he said.

Multiple large trees and multiple power lines are down. Roads are blocked and completely shut off including Ogle Avenue, and on the north side of town, every other road is closed, a second spokesman from the Mount Morris Fire Protection District said. “It’s really bad.”

North of Mount Morris sustained the worst damage, he said.


Lisa said...

We lost power here this past Saturday for 4 hours during a horrendous thunder storm, was torrential, in fact. I also heard from a friend in ND that they had power outage and storms as well.

Nancy said...

Glad you and your property didn't get damaged too bad. We were hoping to get at least a little of that rain, but it went too far south. I get a bit nervous when storms like that come through since I have witnessed a tornado before.

Jenna said...

Wow, is that the same storm that you blogged about before? Scary stuff!

Sharon said...

What a horrible storm! Glad to know that you are okay!