Roads in the City of Kankakee were an obstacle course after a severe storm that quickly moved across the Midwest blew through the area just before 4 p.m. Monday.
City crews were working to remove large tree limbs that blocked passage or limited traffic to one lane on several city roads. There were hundreds of small sticks and branches littering the roadways.
Many power lines were down, resulting in widespread power outages. ComEd is reporting that 810,000 customers system-wide were without power. By morning, ComEd said its crews had restored power to more than 260,000 customers. Thousands of area residents and businesses were among those without power.
Though 1,900 people are working to restore power, ComEd expects it will take multiple days to restore service to all of the customers affected by the storm, according to a press release. The utility has employed out-of-state assistance.
Power outages at lighted intersections created traffic backups Monday afternoon on the west side of Kankakee.
In Kankakee, it appears that the west side of Kankakee bore the brunt of the storm.
“The west side looks like a war zone,” Kankakee Fire Chief Damon Schuldt said. “I had trouble getting around.”
Schuldt said the Riverview neighborhood had a lot of damage as well.
A semi-truck was overturned in the Kankakee Walmart parking lot. The incident accompanies reports of overturned semis along interstates 57 and 80 among others.
In Bourbonnais, Fire Chief Ed Louis reported several trees and power lines down. At least two homes were damaged by trees falling through the roof, he said.
“Limestone seems much worse than us and also Aroma Park,” he said.
Limestone Fire Protection District Chief Mike Whalen concurred the damage is bad, saying he believes the storm was a microburst.
The storm that caused such damage here is the same system that ransacked eastern Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin earlier in the day. Meteorologists say it was derecho, a rare wind storm with wind speeds similar to those of a major hurricane, said Patrick Marsh, science support chief at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. He added that the storm likely caused more widespread damage than a tornado.
Wind speeds of 100 mph were recorded in northern Illinois.