OTTAWA, Ill. — Governor Rauner visited Ottawa on Wednesday, which was one of the communities that was in the path of severe weather on Tuesday. The governor received a briefing from local law enforcement there.
At least one person was killed and 14 were injured in the storms across Northern Illinois.
WGN’s Nancy Loo was in Ottawa for the Midday News, and reported the damage in some areas is so bad, the media’s not allowed near it. The weather was cold and windy.
Ameren says the storm took down 80 poles, and hundreds of crews are hurrying to restore power by tonight or tomorrow.
The Mayor of Ottawa believes a new alert system, where people received messages on their cell phones, worked well as the storm approached and passed. But, one siren didn’t work; but it was buzzing in a badly damaged area.
As for the fatality, 76-year-old Wayne Tuntland was killed in Ottawa by a falling tree. Saint Elizabeth Medical Center reports it received 14 patients as a result of the storm with head, knee, and arm injuries.
A LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa was torn apart by a tornado. There were no serious injuries reported, and the facility says residents and staff managed to evacuate safely.
“It sounded like a freight train coming through,” said Shannon Smith, a local resident of Ottawa, of the tornado that destroyed her town.
There was hail as big as a baseball in the area. A tornado also touched down in Livingston County.
Just a couple of miles south east of Ottawa in Naplate, a similar scene of power outage and damage.
Kevin Fribbs, a resident of Naplate said, “I heard that roar that everybody talks about.”
Another resident was trapped in the rubble of her home and needed the help of her neighbor to get out.
The alarm and emotion in the voices of citizens from both towns are indistinguishable.
First responders are making their way through the damage hoping the light of day will provide a different vantage point.