SIBLEY — A strong storm system that moved through the area early Thursday morning featured reported wind gusts of up to 90 mph, knocking down utility poles and trees and even flipping over a camper in the Ford County village of Sibley, according to Terry Whitebird, director of the Ford County Emergency Management Agency.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Iroquois County, Whitebird said there was an unconfirmed report of a small funnel cloud touching down south and east of Thawville.
Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Eric Ceci said there was “some damage out that way,” although whether a tornado touched down had not been confirmed. Ceci said there were no other reports of funnel clouds, but there were 80-mph winds “throughout large portions of Iroquois County.”
Ceci said there was “widespread” damage to trees, power lines, homes and numerous farm buildings in Iroquois County. Among towns with damage were Watseka, Crescent City, Sheldon, Donovan, Onarga, Cissna Park and Clifton, he said.
Ceci said 2,373 electric customers remained without power as of noon Thursday, as Ameren Illinois and Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative crews worked to restore power.
Many local, county and township roads remained closed, Ceci said. A section of U.S. 24 between Crescent City and Watseka was closed due to downed power lines, he said.
In Ford County, there was “a little bit of damage” in Gibson City, Whitebird said, but “there was a lot of damage” a bit farther north in Sibley.
Besides downed tree limbs in Sibley, there were about five power poles that were toppled by the high winds west and south of the village.
“It was like a mile worth of poles,” Whitebird said.
Whitebird said power went out in at least a portion of Sibley around 1 or 1:30 a.m. and was restored around 7:30 a.m. As of late Thursday morning, there were 17 Ameren Illinois customers and 18 Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative customers still without power in the Sibley and Gibson City areas, Whitebird said.
Whitebird said some of the worst damage was related to trees falling onto homes in Sibley.
Also, he said, “there was a camper in Sibley that was flipped upside-down and just obliviated — it was totally destroyed.
“And I know there was one house where the windows were blown out of the house, so they had some storm damage inside the house.”
Whitebird said he had not received any reports of anyone being injured.
In Champaign County, Emergency Management Coordinator John Dwyer said there had not been any reports of major damage in the area. Dwyer said there were some power lines down as well as some trees and branches.
In Piatt County, an emergency manager reported to the National Weather Service that there was extensive damage across Cisco. The damage included trees falling on houses, garages and cars. A 100-plus-year-old tree was completely knocked over next to the fire station, and a grain bin that was lifted and moved into the roadway near the old F-S plant.
Meanwhile, all Oakwood schools were closed Thursday due to the power outages in that community, and Carle Foundation Hospital officials reported closures as a result of no power.
The Carle facility on Vermilion Street in Danville was closed, and Carle officials were contacting patients with appointments to reschedule. The Carle location at 311 W. Fairchild St. in Danville was open, however, and patients seeking urgent care were advised to go to Carle Convenient Care Plus at that Fairchild Street location.
Illinois 150 between Fithian and Muncie was closed to all traffic for most of the day, as crews were on scene repairing several power lines that were damaged by the storms.
Also, the intersection of Illinois 49 and Vermilion County Road 2000 North was closed due to power lines down.