East Central Illinois spared major damage from Friday night storms

East Central Illinois spared major damage from Friday night storms

There was a lot of sound and fury with storms that blew through East Central Illinois late Friday night but apparently little property  damage.

High winds and heavy rain that pummelled the Springfield area around 8:30 p.m. appeared to have weakened as storms worked their way north and east.

Emergency Management Agency directors in Piatt, Champaign, Douglas and Vermilion counties report no significant damage other than branches down but a church fire in Danville early Saturday may have been caused by a lightning strike.

Champaign County EMA Director John Dwyer said he was in Springfield Friday for EMA drills.

“Springfield got hammered. They had people trapped in viaducts that got flooded. They had to do water rescues,” he said.
The storm then hit Decatur with high winds after 9 p.m. as it moved east. There were reports of power outages in Piatt County but only a few branches down, according to EMA Director Jim Donaldson.

Dwyer said Champaign County EMA is responsible for sounding warning sirens only for Champaign, Urbana, Savoy and the University of Illinois. Other villages have their own criteria for using them. Mahomet sounded sirens about 10:20 p.m. but on Saturday, Police Chief Mike Metzler reported little damage.

Champaign County sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Coffey reported a car hydroplaned off a county road about 5 miles north of Champaign at 10:45 p.m. and ended up in a ditch but the driver was not injured.

“We skated,” said Douglas County EMA Director Joe Victor, who said he’s not gotten any calls about flooding in the usually vulnerable areas of his county like Villa Grove.

Vermilion County EMA Director Ted Fisher reported a couple of downed trees by Hoopeston and said a firefighter in Rankin reported 1-inch hail between 11 p.m. and midnight.

“All in all we got by pretty good. The water is up but there is no flooding across the roads I know about,” Fisher said.

Around 3:30 a.m. Saturday, people driving by the Ridgeview Baptist Church at 3838 N. Vermilion St., Danville, saw flames coming from the roof, which Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said may have been caused by a lightning strike. There was heavy fire damage inside the church.

In Champaign, public works spokesman Kris Koester said crews reported to work at 7 a.m. Saturday to clear debris from roads and sidewalks.

On Wednesday, city workers will begin picking up tree branches from private property that resulted from Friday night’s storm only.

Residents are asked to place their bagged material and limbs and brush in separate locations as the material gets taken to two different places.

Limbs and brush should be stacked with the cut ends parallel to the street and the bagged items at the curb.

Call public works at 217-403-4700 for pick up. The workers will not go on private property to collect debris.   

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