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Power outages continue in McHenry County following severe storms

More thunderstorms are possible Wednesday night as about 14,400 McHenry County homes and businesses remained without power as of 3:00 p.m. Wednesday after severe storms downed trees and power lines.

The region was first hit by a storm Monday evening that included a tornado touching down in McHenry and then another round of storms Tuesday evening that left damage throughout the county. The National Weather Service advised Wednesday morning that a storm with threats of 60 mph gusts and nickel-sized hail was located near Marengo, moving east at 65 mph.

Lake in the Hills police reported several road closures Tuesday evening from downed trees, and reports into the National Weather Service indicated trees and power lines were down in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, McHenry, Marengo and Bull Valley with a 67 mph wind gust measured near Harvard.

Photos: Storms hit McHenry County, downing trees and causing outages

More rain is in the forecast for the rest of Wednesday – a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 5 p.m., with the likelihood increasing into the evening and overnight, mainly before midnight.

Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall, according to the National Weather Service forecast. Daytime winds of 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph, was predicted.

Three Oaks Road has barricades up on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, after a storm the previous night caused a tree to fall on it in Crystal Lake.

Three Oaks Road has barricades up on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, after a storm the previous night caused a tree to fall on it in Crystal Lake. (Matthew Apgar/Crystal Lake, IL)

Many McHenry County residents and workers spent Wednesday morning cleaning up debris and dealing with power outages.

ComEd reported about 29,000 people were without power as of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday throughout McHenry County. That number had lessened by the morning to about 22,000 in McHenry County by about 8:30 a.m., then 17,000 by 1:30 p.m. and finally 14,000 by 3 p.m.

That includes about 1,300 in Fox Lake, nearly 1,300 in Lake in the Hills, nearly 800 in Cary, more than 700 in McHenry, about 500 in Woodstock, over 400 in Crystal Lake and about 200 in Algonquin, according to ComEd as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.

More than 90% of Wonder Lake and all of Greenwood’s utility customers are without power, according to ComEd.

Crystal Lake-based Davey Tree Experts has received more than 100 calls since Tuesday evening about downed trees requiring removal, said Mary Lindquist, the company’s a client service coordinator.

“For me personally, it’s a lot more of trees on the houses than I’ve experienced in a while,” Lindquist said.

Homeowners: Be wary of storm damage scams

The company has fielded multiple reports of trees falling on and damaging houses, cars and fences, Lindquist said, and its workers are trying to prioritize the most serious situations while they are slammed with requests.

Dave Walsh of the village of Johnsburg's public works department saws through a tree Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, to remove it from across Reed Avenue. This week's storms brought high winds and several tornadoes to northern Illinois, including one that touched down Monday evening in McHenry.

Dave Walsh of the village of Johnsburg’s public works department saws through a tree Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, to remove it from across Reed Avenue. This week’s storms brought high winds and several tornadoes to northern Illinois, including one that touched down Monday evening in McHenry. (Sam Lounsberry/Crystal Lake, IL)

“This is actually one of the busiest storms I’ve encountered since I’ve worked here, over seven years,” Lindquist said.

Caroline Dombrowski, 84, lives on Claire Street in Crystal Lake, in the same house that she did during the 1965 Palm Sunday F-4 tornado that tore through the area, which Dombrowski said destroyed a house at the end of her street. While she escaped damage in 1965, a third of the tree in her yard came down on her house Tuesday night.

“I was just sitting in the living room watching TV. The wind started whipping up and those trees started going crazy. Then I heard a boom, and I knew right away there was a tree on the roof,” she said.

The tree did not make it all the way into the house, but damaged beams of the roof. Dombrowski was still without power Wednesday afternoon, but said she’ll be able to stay in her home, even with the damage.

“I’m pretty happy. I’ve got really great insurance, I’m alive and I’m 84 years old. What more could you ask for?” she said with a laugh.

Jerry Penze of Crystal Lake also considers himself one of the lucky ones: The tree that fell at his house did not make it into his house. Damage was confined to the overhang over his porch, which he said now has some holes from the tree and the eave of the porch is also smashed in.

“After the wind came through, I heard a transformer pop or tree branch pop off too, and it came down and damaged my roof,” Penze said, who lives at the corner of Three Oaks Road and Redwood Street. “The roof damage was not real bad compared to others in the neighborhood. I’ve seen some garages caved in.”

Penze said he was aware of the potential for strong storms Tuesday night but was not expecting the storms to bring damage like they did.

Tornado Monday hit McHenry, one of at least seven tornadoes across northern Illinois

“The lightning was totally freaky. I went outside to survey the damage, and I thought I was going to be hit a couple of times,” he said.

Dave and Rosemarie Herda, of Johnsburg, woke up to find a huge limb of a tree had come down on top of a canopy structure above their boat lift on a channel leading to the Fox River.

Some damage was done to the metal structure, and the couple called the Fox Waterway Agency to come assess the situation and see if its workers could help remove it.

“I was thunderstruck,” Rosemarie Herda said with a laugh. “I shouldn’t make light of it. There is always someone who has it far worse than we do.”

A large tree limb fell on top of a canopy structure above the boat lift in the backyard of Rosemarie and Dave Herda's Johnsburg home during the storms this week, seen Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021.

A large tree limb fell on top of a canopy structure above the boat lift in the backyard of Rosemarie and Dave Herda’s Johnsburg home during the storms this week, seen Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Sam Lounsberry/)

Generally, the Fox Waterway Agency only removes trees if they are obstructing a part of the waterway needed for navigation, agency Superintendent Rob Bowman said.

Fox Waterway’s office was without power midday Wednesday and could have missed reports of trees in the waterway as a result, Bowman said, but it has received a few it is working to address and he expects more to come in as the day goes on and homeowners survey their properties for felled trees.

“Some of our communications have been down. I anticipate as time goes by we will start getting some more calls as people assess the damage on their properties,” Bowman said.

Dave Walsh, a member of a Johnsburg public works crew clearing a large tree that came down across Reed Avenue, said he and other village workers had been awake most of the night and pre-dawn hours Wednesday removing debris from roadways.

In addition to the rain, McHenry County is also under another heat advisory Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The heat advisory is set to run noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday with heat index values of up to 105 expected across north central and northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana.

Hot temperatures and high humidity can cause heat illnesses in fewer than 30 minutes when in direct sunlight, the advisory warned, recommending that people drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioned rooms, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances, according to the advisory. Those who work or spend time outside should take extra precautions.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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