Tornado hits Jacksonville

At least one tornado reportedly cut through Jacksonville last night. The storm came together on the edge of town about 11:45 p.m. Monday. That’s about the time my power blinked once then went out. The tornado siren was sounded. When I left home this morning, the power wasn’t on and the advisory I heard said they are predicting that it will be on by 10 p.m. tonight. On my way to work this morning, I saw lots of trees and limbs down. Traffic was crawling. The scanner makes it sound like traffic is at a crawl all over.

The storm reportedly began its path through Jacksonville at Birdsells and the Star Lite Motel on the southwest end of town. One report said that the Star Lite Motel had collapsed. An injured person, taken to the local hospital, had been at the motel.

The storm/tornado ripped a roof off a Terry Court home, and vitually destroyed Jack’s Auto Clinic and the car wash north of city hall — that’s not too far from my house — before pounding the northeast neighborhoods. The storm also tore a chunk of the northwest part of the roof of the Morgan County courthouse. The all-clear sounded shortly after 1 a.m.

Mayor Ron Tendick and Jim Shipp of Illinois Power are urging people to stay away from downed limbs and lines. Shipp said IP is attempting to restore power to neighborhoods left in the dark for half the night and that it will be at least most of today before power is restored.

A woman was reportedly killed when the storm hit Winchester. Scott County authorities say the woman was in a mobile home southwest of town.

On Interstate 55, tractor-trailers were toppled by the wind at both Lincoln and Divernon. Flash flooding was another problem as torrential rain fell in many areas, with roads inundated in Logan county. Some roads were impassable, as three to four inches of rain fell in less than two hours.

Update: The Journal-Courier, due to power outage, didn’t get to print Tuesday’s paper until around 7 a.m. Tuesday. The last of the papers left the building around 9 a.m. Circulation is scrambling to get them delivered.

At least 15 homes and eight to 10 businesses (in the Jacksonville area) were damaged by strong winds, Morgan County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency coordinator Bob Fitzsimmons said

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