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CHAMPAIGN  - A "wind downburst" in northwest Champaign has left one home heavily damaged and power lines down over Bradley Avenue. A tornado watch that had been issued earlier this morning for Champaign County was canceled about 8 a.m.

Bill Keller, executive director of Champaign County's Emergency Management Agency, said a heavy, isolated thunderstorm was the cause of the damage in the 3200 block of Edward Hoffman Drive.

"There was one house with part of its roof off, a garage door basked in, multiple fences in the neighborhood down and one power pole across Bradley Avenue," Keller said.

Ameren Illinois was on the scene working on the downed power line and traffic was being rerouted. Police were responding to at least two property damage traffic accidents that occurred during the morning rush hour. It did not appear anyone was seriously injured in those.

Keller said people were in the home that lost part of its roof but no one was hurt. He estimated the heavy winds and rain happened right around 7 a.m.

He said a wind downburst during a thunderstorm features both both heavy rain and wind.  "The air just rushes straight down to the ground," he said.

A downed power pole in northwest Champaign County contributed to a wreck for a truck carrying mail to area post offices.

The contract truck driver, Walter Reid, swerved to avoid the pole on County Road 3800 N north of U.S. 136 about 6:30 a.m., winding up in a ditch, according to Mike Pfundstein, manager of post office operations for the 618 and 619 ZIP codes.

Mail in the truck was bound for Foosland, Fisher and Dewey, Pfundstein said. It was secured inside the truck and he said he believes almost everything was intact. If anything blew away, it went too far and too fast to be found, he said.

The mail was delivered to the post offices by about 9, he said.

Adri Garcia of Champaign lives on the north side of Bradley Avenue and was rerouted across Edward Hoffman because of the downed power line. She also saw the damaged home and fences.

"It was pretty nasty," she said.

Ameren Illinois reported 3,629 customers in Champaign County and 972 in Vermilion County without power about 8:30 a.m. Most of the Champaign County outages appeared to be west of Champaign and around Mahomet. In Vermilion County most of the outages were north and east of Danville. By 10:45 a.m., the number of customers without power in Champaign County was at just over 2,000, and about 25 customers remained without power in Vermilion County.

Some 750 customers of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative based in Paxton were without power Tuesday morning, the co-op said. The utility said winds blew down power lines in the area and warned residents to stay away from downed lines.

A wind advisory remains in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph can be expected with occasional gusts of up to 45 mph.

Atwood fire officials also responded to a power line down in the southwestern part of Champaigin County near county roads 100 N and 200 E that was reported about 8:30 a.m.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).