Hurricane-Strength Winds Knock Out Power, Down Trees, Scare Taste Crowds
More than 41,000 Joliet residences don't have electricity; a second line of storms is expected to move through later tonight, weather service says.
A fast-moving line of storms that produced hurricane-strength winds of 85 to 90 mph moved through the Joliet area shortly before 10 p.m., knocking out power to more than 41,000 homes, uprooting trees and wreaking havoc at the Taste of Joliet.
Information on the extent of damage throughout the area is still be assessed, but a Joliet Police Department watch commander said, "We have power outages all over," and there are reports of downed electrical wires and trees.
A second line of storms moved through the area at about 11 p.m. but was nowhere as severe as the ones seen earlier in the evening, National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi said.
Although there have been reports of damage at the Taste of Joliet, Joliet Patch has not yet verified that other than in anecdotal stories of attendees fleeing for safety as the storm moved in. REO Speedwagon, the music headliner, ended its set early, and the festival was closed early as well because of forecast of more storms.
One report about the Ferris wheel tipping over, which appeared online, is not accurate.
ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson said the Joliet-Romeoville-Plainfield area was the hardest hit in terms of power outages and downed lines.
Areas where there are known outages include Theodore and Essington, U.S. 6 and Briggs, Caton Farm Road and Interstate 55 and Caton Farm and Bronk Road.
Johnson said people should not go near downed power wires, even if they appear to be dead, and should report all outages by calling 1-800-Edison1 or texting OUT26633.
The storm also resulted in Joliet Slammers' game ending early, with the team taking a 7-4 loss against the Southern Illinois Miners.
Things became a bit chaotic, as team employees tried to put town a tarp to protect the field only to have it blow back on top of them. Had the corner not been held down by a small truck, it would have likely have blown into the stands. A Youtube video of the incident is attached to this article.
- Crystal Jensen My daughter went to see REO. I've been texting her and she said that it was so bad that the police were helping people climb over fences to get out. It felt like there was a tornado.
- Robyn Mccord-Dominguez It was short and sweet. Once the wind hit, the power went out immediately. I just went out and noticed my outdoor lights were blown off my house, along with some siding.
- Tina Williams I drove home in it... there were branches everywhere... not that you could see them until you were on top of them. That was nuts.
- Mary Gilliam Spiros My husband was bringing in the chair cushions when the big winds hit and watched our shed fall apart when the winds took the roof and one of the walls over the fence.
- Sue Gerard Palcis We drove through it. My mom large tree fell on their car and house.