Tornado damage reported near Lewistown, flooding in Pekin

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LEWISTOWN — Heavy storms that rolled through central Illinois Saturday evening brought more than rain and hail. Those storms also brought tornado damage.

Two miles southeast of Lewistown, the Native Trails Winery got hit. Bill Nayden, 69, the owner of the four-year-old winery, was inside the main building (a large metal shed) serving three customers when the storm blew in.

“The tornado went right through,” he said, his voice ragged. ” … We watched it happen. It was kind of scary.”

The storm spared the winery’s main building but ripped apart several other structures on site.

“The vineyard is trashed,” Nayden said.

Elsewhere, the city of Taylorville was hard hit by the line of destructive storms.

Trees, power lines and building were down throughout the city after the suspected tornado, which struck after 5 p.m. Taylorville assistant fire chief Andy Goodall said preliminary estimates showed many homes were “damaged severely.”

“There was multiple, I would guess over 100 (homes) easily, that were damaged severely because it took a pass almost right through town. And most of those houses’ roofs are gone and significant damage, including my own,” said Goodall.

Twenty-one people were taken to Taylorville Memorial Hospital with storm-related injuries ranging from chest, head and extremity trauma, along with smoke inhalation, according to hospital spokesman Michael Leathers. Eight of those patients had already been discharged by 8:45 p.m., and three with more serious injuries were transported to hospitals in Springfield.

In the Peoria area, there were reports of downed trees and flooded streets as thunderstorms roared through the area in the early evening.

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office reported that at 6:45 p.m. three feet of water covered Sheridan Road in Pekin while, at the same time, cars were stalled in deep water at the foot of Creve Coeur Hill in East Peoria.

There were also reports that flooded streets temporarily impeded access to UnityPoint Health-Pekin.

A lot of rain fell in a little amount of time Saturday night in the Peoria area, resulting in isolated flash flooding. The National Weather Service in Lincoln reported that while Peoria received only about one inch of rain, more fell on the south side of the river.

“Pekin, South Pekin and East Peoria received the brunt of the storm. You had probably two to four inches in the Pekin area,” said Scott Baker of the Weather Service. Most of the rain in the area fell between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Several others live in the rural area, including one of Nayden’s children.

“My son’s boat is in somebody’s backyard,” Nayden said.

Another nearby winery, Big Horse Vineyards may also have sustained some damage, said Nayden. However, speaking after sunset, he was not sure of the extent. No one at Big Horse could be reached for comment.

Heavy rains and dime-sized hail were also reported across the region throughout the evening. Downed trees were also reported in some areas.

Brenden Moore of the State Journal-Register contributed to this report.

by Phil Luciano and Steve Tarter (2018, Dec 1) Journal Star

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Kyrie Wagner