Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

May 22, 2013

Storms ravage area

Bill Grimes and Nicole Dominique Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — Dave Habbe still had a house after Monday night’s severe storms.

The rural Effingham resident woke up Tuesday to find his vehicles intact, as well.

But Habbe still had quite a mess to clean up. Fallen trees and limbs blocked the circle drive to his home on 1150th Street. There was even part of a tree in the pond behind the house.

Habbe was one of a number of people who woke up Tuesday morning to storm-generated damage. One home around the corner from Habbe — on 2000th Avenue — had a tree fall on its roof.

Habbe believes the damage might have been caused by a tornado that didn’t touch all the way to the ground. The National Weather Service in Lincoln reported no tornadoes in the Effingham area, however.

All things considered, Habbe’s glad to get away with nothing more than a cleanup bill of several thousand dollars to remove the fallen wood and leaves from his yard.

“Another 30 to 40 yards south and it would have hit the house,” Habbe said. “I feel fortunate.”

Habbe said the storm hit shortly after he went to bed around 11:30 Monday night.

“I heard some high winds that only lasted a minute,” he said.

While the area around Habbe’s home might have been the hardest hit in Effingham County, things were even worse a few miles north in Shelby County. Neither Stewardson nor Strasburg had electric power until well into the afternoon Tuesday after high winds knocked down a string of power lines near Windsor.

The hardest-hit area might have been near the Moultrie-Shelby county line east of Windsor.

“We had power poles that snapped, grain bins lifted off their foundations and either wrapped around power poles or rolled into the road, a machine shed roof torn off and trees that fell on a house,” said Jared Rowcliffe, Shelby County Emergency Management Agency director.

Rowcliffe said most of the major damage seemed to be confined to that particular area.

Meteorologist Ed Shimon of the National Weather Service said Monday night’s storms were generally not severe.

“There were some pockets of severe weather,” he said, “But it was a pretty isolated storm. ... In general they were strong thunderstorms, not widespread severe storms.”

The storms resulted from a combination of low pressure systems, unstable air above the ground and a change in wind direction, conditions that allow thunderstorms to rapidly develop.

He was only aware of two reports of damage: in Toledo, a homeowner said the screens were blown off his windows but cited no tree damage, while a Neoga resident said there were some downed branches.

As for the rest of the week, Shimon expected “some locally heavy thunderstorms” Tuesday night and scattered showers and storms today and Thursday.

“The biggest rain is going to be tonight,” he said Tuesday.

He also said temperatures are predicted to cool over the next few days, with highs of 70 going into the weekend, which is “below normal” for this time of year.

The temperature should rise a few degrees into the low 70s on Sunday. Memorial Day Monday is expected to be in the mid-70s with a 20 percent chance of rain, Shimon said.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.