'We had a very intense line of thunderstorms'
The National Weather Service still is sorting through reports of the measurements taken and damage done by Monday afternoon’s string of severe thunderstorms that caused destruction and havoc across the area.
But the organization knows this much already: The storm was massive, and it hit hard all over the Midwest.
“We’re still collecting information. As of right now, we can just confirm there was some straight-line wind damage,” said Scott Lincoln, Senior Service Hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s Chicago offices. “It is possible there were some brief tornadoes, but nothing like that has been confirmed at this time.
“Whether or not someone had a tornado, though, the straight-line winds were high enough to cause significant damage.”
La Salle County and the surrounding area knows that all too well, with downed trees, damaged buildings and power outages throughout the region.
“The general overview is we had a very intense line of thunderstorms move through the state,” Lincoln said. “It started as far west as western Iowa … moved into northeast Illinois, and it is still continuing in northeast Indiana at this hour [just after 7:15 p.m. Monday evening].
“It brought with it significant wind damage to trees, powerlines and even structural damage.”
Lincoln said from the reports the National Weather Service has received, winds ranging between 60 to 90 mph were “pretty common,” with a few reports in Iowa of gusts soaring into triple digits. Of the confirmed readings in the area, he said winds topped 70 mph in Mendota — though there was an unofficial report of winds reaching into the 90s south of the La Salle-Peru area from a private weather station.
Perhaps most striking to Lincoln, though, was the consistency with which this wall of thunderstorms moved and destroyed.
“Throughout the Midwest,” he said, “there are hundreds of reports of wind damage. … It is pretty much wall-to-wall. There are almost no spots which weren’t getting at least minor damage.”