Weather roundup: Drying out, cleaning up, waiting for power
John Dwyer inspects his back yard after a tree destroyed his garage at 120 E. Madison St. in Elmhurst, Ill. High winds and storms created havoc last night with downed trees and loss of electrical power. (Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune / June 22, 2011)
Kathy Norman, 53, got a call from a neighbor about a tree destroying a car on the street when she walked outside and saw her own home was covered in giant limbs and branches. Her home doesn’t have any power and yellow caution tape is hanging from her home to a tree.
“We keep getting it bad,” she said, adding the area was hit hard last year by a hail storm. “My house looks worse than it is, but we just redid the roof.”
Standing outside with her dog, Norman chatted with her neighbors who were also without power and wanted to know what other areas had been hit.
Despite the debris covering their front yards and being stuck without power, they were laughing and complimenting each other for putting their eyeliner on in the dark and fixing their hair without blow dryers.
Their block is littered with giant tree limbs, on the ground or semi-hanging from trees. The neighbor’s recently purchased BMW was totaled by a tree, they said.
“She’s been crying all night,” Norman said of the 24-year-old neighbor.
Businesses in south Elmhurst and the downtown business district were closed Wednesday morning becaue of power outages. Some 14,000 Commonwealth Edison customers were without this morning, including the business district from South Palmer Drive to City Hall, said Police Chief Steve Neubauer.
Neubauer said the police station, which is on First avenue, east of York street in downtown business district, operated on a generator this morning.
Police responded to storm-related calls, did well-being checks and tried to support the public works and fire departments that were checking on reports of downed power lines and trees.
Residents and businesses may have to operate without electrical power for days.
Frank Petrozza, 88, who lives on Bryan Avenue, said a tree that toppled in front of his neighbor’s house had been there longer than he has.
“I know that tree is every bit of 52 years old,” he said. “I was the first one on this block. I’m 88 and that tree is older than me.”
Petrozza and his neighbors, John Pozen and Bruno Radz, were draining gas from a generator Wednesday morning and taking stock of the damage.
Radz' wife, Shannon, said a $4,000 fence that the family installed three years ago in their backyard also was taken down by the storm. She said she and her daughter, Skylar, 8, saw several power lines come down during the storm that struck at about 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“We saw sparks. It was like fireworks,” Shannon said.
Most of the Libertyville, Libertyville Township and the nearby Green Oaks subdivision lost power, said Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani.