Tornado warnings expire for Champaign and Vermilion counties

UPDATED 8 p.m.

A tornado warning for eastern Champaign County and Vermilion County expired at 8 p.m. A tornado warning for northern Champaign County expired at 7:30 p.m., but a tornado watch continues for the area until 10 p.m. Wednesday.

At 6:51 p.m., meteorologists detected a severe thunderstorm capable of producting a tornado near Seymour, or 9 miles west of Champaign, moving northeast at 45 mph.

Locations impacted include Champaign, Rantoul, Thomasboro, Gifford, Flatville and Ludlow.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for Champaign, DeWitt, Piatt and Vermilion counties until 10 p.m. Wednesday.

A tornado watch is issued when conditions are right for a tornado to form.

The National Weather Service has issued a  flash flood watch for central Illinois, including Champaign, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion counties, through Thursday morning.

Rainfall amounts of up to two inches, with locally higher totals, were reported in many areas of central and eastern Illinois on Wednesday morning.

The weather service expects additional widespread rainfall totals of up to three inches from Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning.

A flash flood watch means conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding.

A tornado watch for most of East Central Illinois expired at 1 p.m., although Moultrie County and others in its vicinity are under a tornado watch till 9 p.m.

The National Weather Service says East Central Illinois is under a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms late this afternoon and this evening.

Sgt. Tony Cessna of the Illinois State Police post at Pesotum reported a handful of accidents that occurred between 8:40 and 9 a.m.

“It just stirred up all at once,” Cessna said of a combination of strong winds and rain.

Among the reports he knew of:

--  I-57 southbound about 7 miles south of Pesotum; semi overturned; no injuries.
— I-74 westbound near Mansfield; semi overturned; no injuries.
— I-74 westbound near Ogden; semi overturned; no injuries.
— I-74 eastbound near Ogden; semi jackknifed; no injuries.
— I-74 eastbound ramp to I-57 southbound; car slid off ramp; no injuries.
— U.S. 136 near Dewey; car slid off highway; no injuries.

Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Fisher said the storm knocked down some trees and some power lines in Danvilel and knocked the siding off a house in Fithian.

After temorarily closing due to wind damage, Carle Physician Group in Monticello is scheduled to reopen at 11 a.m. Thursday. Patients scheduled for
Wednesday and Thursday morning have been rescheduled. Those who wish to make an appointment or who have questions may call (217) 326-1894.

In Champaign County, Emergency Management Agency workers reported the following occurred between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m.:

-- Tree down across road at U.S. 150 and Illinois 47 at Mahomet.
-- Power line down near St. Mary's Road in Pesotum.
-- Roof on an old barn taken off at 250N/1350E in Pesotum.
-- Power line down at 1400 N and 1800 E in Urbana.
-- Power lines and a power pole down in the 100 block of North Webber Street in Urbana.

Ameren IP spokesman Leigh Morris said Iroquois and Champaign counties each had about 1,000 customers without power this morning from storms that blew through.

"When you look at the total numbers, these don’t represent a significant percentage of our total customers. Just to put it in perspective, there are 6,100 out statewide. Crews are out there working. I would expect we’d get it back on today," he said.

"We have seven broken poles west of Sheldon in Iroquois County and five north of Sheldon. Those (north) are poles that hold subtransmission lines of 69,000 volts.
In the Rankin area we have six broken distribution poles and a possibility of a couple of others. We have field people out," Morris said around 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"All of us up to (today) have really been fortunate that Illinois for the most part has been spared what is beyond tragic in Joplin.
If there are weather warnings, I hope everybody heeds them," Morris said.

In Iroquois County, the only damage reported was to some grain bins in the northeastern part of the county, said Emergency Services and Disaster
Agency Director Carl Gerdovich.

Meanwhile, tornado sirens sounded in the Iroquois County communities of Wellington, Stockland, Milford and Sheldon after a tornado was spotted
“on the ground” west of Hoopeston in Vermilion County, Gerdovich said. The tornado was moving northeast.

Gerdovich said he was told the south side of Watseka and an area around Sheldon and Iroquois were without power after a transformer box was hit by
lightning.

In Paxton, Randy Swan, superintendent of the city’s street department, said the only damage he was aware of was a tree that blew down and fell on
top of a car near the Illinois Knights Templar Home.

The rest was “just little stuff,” like fallen tree limbs on streets.

Earlier Wednesday, the National Weather Service was tracking a confirmed tornado near Monticello moving northeast at 60 mph. Spotters reported seeing it on the ground north of Cerro Gordo at 7:45 a.m.

 

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