07/23/10 - Fast Moving Storms Whip up Trouble
By C Sterrett, NewsTribune
A fast-moving, short-lived storm whooshed through Bureau and La Salle counties Friday evening, downing tree branches, causing isolated power outages in Peru and causing more widespread outages in the Ottawa area.
Among the power-outage victims was the La Salle County governmental complex on Etna Road in Ottawa, where a sheriff’s dispatcher said the sheriff’s office was powered by a back-up generator at about 6 p.m. The deputy said fallen trees and poles temporarily blocked roads in several parts of the county, but by 7:30 p.m. power was on at the sheriff’s office and much of the debris was removed from roads.
A county dispatcher said county highway and Illinois Department of Transportation crews and Corn Belt, Ameren and ComEd power line repair crews all were dispatched to various locations in an 8-mile radius of Ottawa.
Deb Myers of rural Waltham Township said she was returning north from Utica after fetching a pizza for supper when she noticed trees were damaged and some lumberjack service trucks were on their way to the KOA campground.
“One camper trailer was damaged heavily; I hope no one was hurt,” she said. Fire chief Dave Edgcomb said Utica was not called about any injuries. He said firefighters were out during the storm as weather spotters, and saw nothing more dangerous than rain blowing sideways and high winds.
About a mile west of the KOA, Hickory Hollow campers were unscathed. Campground operator Sandy Esmond said wind blew away some campers’ tent, and they sought shelter with some friends. Three or four minutes later, “a huge limb” fell where the tent had been.
National Weather Service had a report of a 52-mph gust at about 5 p.m. at Illinois Valley Regional Airport, and a motorist reported utility pole damage in that vicinity. Peru firefighters were called about wires arcing not far from Northview School.
A branch fell on a high-voltage line at about 5:30 p.m. near Northview School, Peru, and knocked out power briefly, but crews repaired it, and power was restored by 6 p.m., said Jim Potthoff, Peru electric supervisor.
A police scanner transmission reported problems with wires and a pole down near Horizon House in Peru, and an outage was reported near 15th and Sunset in Peru. Among the downed trees or branches briefly blocking traffic was one on Kilmer Road north of 11th Street in western La Salle.
Ottawa police reported wires, branches and trees down in several locations, but reported only partial traffic blockage from storm damage on any of the major streets. The dispatcher there said blockage was at West Norris Drive (U.S. 6) at La Salle Street.
Ottawa firefighters assisted people in a car in the 1600 block of Chestnut Street after a tree fell on the car. According to the fire department, the occupants called for help as a precaution because they were not sure if there were live power lines on the car along with the tree. Firefighters moved the tree off the car and let the people out.
La Salle-Peru area National Weather Service weather spotter Eldon Gunia reported eight-tenths of an inch of rain Friday.
In La Salle, resident Ron Weber reported a tree falling on the roof of a neighbor’s house, damaging a chimney cap if not the entire chimney, near the northwest corner of Hegeler Park. La Salle Fire Department reported it had not been dispatched for any weather-related damage as of 6 p.m.
A heat advisory had been in effect late Friday afternoon, and St. Margaret’s Health in Spring Valley announced it had instituted an emergency shelter program “to provide an environment for people who are unable to tolerate extreme weather conditions such as power outages in extreme heat or no air conditioning. Those people who qualify must be capable of independent living and be able to care for themselves.”
Emergency Event 20100723AIU