night darkened further by storm
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[July 22, 2008]
While moviegoers were in the
local theater watching the new blockbuster movie, "The Dark Knight,"
everyone else at home, work or on the streets went through their own
dark night as still another torrential storm went through the area
The storm, precipitated by the movement of a cold front through the
region, dumped as much as 3 inches of rain in less than two hours.
Coupled with wind gusts in excess of 60 mph, the storm was just the
latest sequel in a year of record rainfall and storms. Many
residents stated that at times the rain seemed to be driven sideways
as it was pushed into homes, trees and outbuildings almost
Linda Engebretson, a meteorologist with the National
Weather Service, told the Quad City Times that the storm phenomenon
is called a "derecho," which is a Spanish word meaning "straight
ahead." The meteorologist said that this type of storm with fast,
straight-line winds can cause almost as much damage as a tornado.
The monstrous storm affected an area as far north as LaSalle to
as far south as Sangamon County, knocking out power throughout the
Ameren utility officials said that more than 18,000 customers
were without electrical service at the height of the storm. As of
Tuesday morning, the utility reported that the number of customers
still waiting for service to be restored was down to 7,600. The high
winds, which knocked down trees onto power lines, also felled power
poles in some instances.
Locally, the Logan County Emergency Management Agency alerted
Lincoln residents to the force of the storm, setting off the warning
sirens at 8:33 p.m. The sirens stayed on for 12 minutes, until the
brunt of the heavy wind passed through the area.
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EMA officials state that as of this morning no reports of serious
bodily injury or major structural damage have been received.
Mount Pulaski, which was hit by the brunt of the storm, still has
sections without power, and extensive damage to trees and properties
has been reported.
Dan Fulscher, EMA director, left for Mount Pulaski this morning
to do an emergency damage assessment, and it is expected that an
official with the Illinois EMA will also travel to the town to
determine the extent of damage.
[By MIKE FAK]