Lightning strikes, ignites power pole in Urbana; strong weather expected

URBANA -- Firefighters responded this evening when lightning struck a power pole at the intersection of Race Street and Florida Avenue.

The top of the pole caught fire, said Urbana fire division chief Chad Hensch, but the rain quickly put out the flames. No power lines were down.

The National Weather Service is advising that strong weather will roll through the East Central Illinois region tonight. Storms could become severe in the northern part of the region, where the service has issued severe thunderstorm warnings for Ford, Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties. The warnings are in effect until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

South of that, particularly in Champaign and Vermilion counties, a line of storms could bring penny-size hail and winds in excess of 50 mph, according to the service.

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