In western Piatt County, overnight storm takes a toll

In western Piatt County, overnight storm takes a toll

CISCO — An overnight storm caused significant property damage in the Piatt County community of Cisco. Emergency officials said high winds damaged at least 22 homes and downed 50 to 60 limbs, some of which ended up on village and rural roadways.

No injuries were reported after the 1:30 a.m. event, but power was still out as of late morning in the town of about 250 people. Crews from Ameren were working to restore power to the town, hopefully by sometime this afternoon.

"It came in really fast. We don't know whether it was straight line winds or whether it was possibly a funnel cloud that never touched, we're not sure," said fire Chief Matt Wilhelm.

A grain bin owned by Topflight Grain Cooperative was damaged, and a privately owned bin was "picked up and thrown from the back of the property to the front of the property," an estimated distance of 100 yards, according to Piatt County Sheriff Emergency Management Director Mike Holmes.

"For the amount of tree damage, I think we're pretty lucky," added Holmes. "There are trees on houses, cars totaled, but we're lucky nothing went through and hurt anyone."

Wilhelm knew of at least four vehicles destroyed by falling limbs, as well as roofs being damaged on several homes. A gas leak was also reported, and may require digging under a road to repair.

Illinois 32 was closed after the storm until debris was cleared about daybreak.

"Cleanup will take a couple of days," he said.

One tree that was destroyed was a 100-plus-year-old one next to the firehouse that is on the former schoolhouse lawn.

County agencies have been chipping in to assess the damage and contribute to the clean up. Helping out are fire department volunteers from Mid-Piatt, Argenta-Oreana, Cerro Gordo and Cisco. Willow Creek, Sangamon, Goose Creek and Monticello Township have also brought in equipment and personnel to help with the effort.

"We've had a wonderful outpouring from the people in Piatt County," said Wilhelm, noting there was plenty of food and coffee brought to the Cisco firehouse for volunteers. "I can't thank the public enough. They've been outstanding."

He also asked any residents needing to report damage or other storm-related concerns to call the fire department's non-emergency number, 217-669-2341.

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