September 27, 2012
Tornadoes, Hail, Flooding, and Some Building Damage All Reported In Aftermath of Tuesday Night Severe Weather
Severe storms, including multiple reports of tornadoes over Clinton and Washington Counties, were reported Tuesday night. Storm Spotter Randal Meredith caught a shot of the tornado near Okawville.
Severe weather sparked tornadoes and some isolated damage across South Central Illinois as severe thunderstorms moved across the area Tuesday evening. The heavy rains that continued throughout the evening and early morning hours dumped between three and five inches of rain across the region.
As a result, a flash flood warning has been issued for Marion, Clinton and northern Washington County until nine Wednesday night. Crooked Creek at Hoffman and the East Fork of the Kaskaskia River at Fairman are both above flood stage. Two gates were fully opened and a third had been partially opened on the Raccoon Lake Dam earlier Wednesday. As a result, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department reported the Green Street Road impassable. Green Street Road has been reopened as of 11:35 a.m. due to the gates being closed. Salem Township Highway Commissioner Bill Grizzle reports the South College Street Extension south of Salem in the Crooked Creek bottoms is also closed. Several other low lying secondary roads are also impassable due to high water levels.
Trained storm spotters reported to the National Weather Service that a tornado touched down three miles east of Okawville around 5:35 Tuesday evening. Spotters report a 30 by 80 foot metal shed destroyed and three farm houses damaged with partial removal of roofs in the area. There were also reports from the same area of garage doors caved in and damage to siding.
The same storm that produced the Okawville tornado also sparked off a tornado near Addieville with a semi-trailer blown over on Interstate-64 at milepost 40.5. The Washington County Sheriff’s deputies reported one minor injury. Three other vehicles were also overturned on I-64 between Okawville and U.S. Highway 51. Storm spotters also reported a tornado periodically touching down four-miles north of Hoyleton in Clinton County at 5:40 Tuesday evening, and a funnel cloud was reported five miles south of Hoffman at 5:37 p.m. The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department has no reports of serious storm damage or injuries.
Several severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Marion County throughout the evenings as the storms continued to move to the east and southeast. The heaviest damage appears to be in a four block area of Junction City around the village hall. Mayor Jerry Gray reports several large trees were uprooted with streets blocked. The Bobby Barton farm reported a roof partially blown off one of their barns and the Glenridge Baptist Church had minor shingle and roof damage. Two vehicles were damaged when hit by fallen trees. Gray said an outside tree service had to be called in to help. He notes all the damage was confined to the westside of town.
Melissa Kirgan of U.S. 50 between Odin and Salem reported her garage was thrown about twelve feet and landed on her trampoline.
The Salem Water Plant was apparently struck by lightning around three Wednesday morning. Salem Firemen say while there was no actual fire, some of the alarm equipment was damaged. However, the plant can still produce water. A large flash of light outside was followed by a spark inside and all the alarms going off. The Centralia Fire Department responded to a transformer apparently struck by lightning in the 900 block of South Hickory.
Large hail was reported with these storms as well. Hail over two-inches in diameter was reported in Aviston in Clinton County around 5:10 Tuesday evening. Dime-size hail and strong winds were reported in Odin as the storms moved through. One-inch hail was reported in Centralia around 6:45 p.m., with strong winds and ½ inch hail reported in Centralia at 7:20 p.m.
As of 7:20 p.m., there were 2,323 people Ameren customers without power due to the storms. 558 of those customers were in Marion County, almost all in the Odin area. As of 5:45 Wednesday morning, 869 Ameren customers were still without power in Clay County and 434 in Wayne County. Tri-County Electric customers also were reported without power east of Kell Tuesday evening.