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Storm Related Issues in our Viewing Area
CHAMPAIGN -- Wednesday night's brutal weather conditions continued into Thursday morning with near 70 mile per hour winds and pounding rain that deposited nearly an inch per hour throughout the area.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared a State of Emergency, following the damage across the state Thursday morning.
Power lines and telephone poles near the Rantoul, Ill., industrial site on U.S. 136 fell to the ground around 8:00 a.m. this morning, causing the Illinois State Police to blockade the stretch west of I-57 to County Road 1200 East. Several cases of property damage were reported around the same time, as buildings lining U.S. 136 and the surrounding area lost pieces of their roofs. Illinois State Police officials said the storm also caused a few car accidents, but nobody was seriously injured or required enough attention for transport to the hosptial.
While Rantoul police and firefighters are still working to clear the mess, authorities recommend using their specified detour along County Road 3100 North.
Unfortunately, a night riddled with hazardous conditions didn't come and go without tradgedy.
Travis Schoonover was driving on Hungry Hollow Rd. in Danville, Ill., around 1:47 a.m. on Thursday morning. An Illinois State Police report said Schoonover mishandled a turn in the stormy conditions and sped into a ditch, eventually crashing into a tree. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. When authorities reached the scene he was pronounced dead. Officials are still investigating the crash.
Earlier Wednesday evening around 6 p.m., Vera Venable-George was headed southbound on I-57 near Tolono, Ill., according to an Illinois State Police report. He attempted to turn off the road because the windshield of his silver pickup truck had fogged up, but never saw James Grimsley's red pickup already parked on the shoulder in front of him due to the hazy conditions. Both men were transported to Carle Foundation Hospital, and the status of their conditions are still unclear.
In the aftermath Thursday morning, Engineered Plastic Componoents in Rantoul is reporting it's still without power. The outage has forced the company to cancel its first, second and third shifts today, as well as its first shift tomorrow. If the power isn't fixed by then, more closures could follow.
Light rain should continue throughout the day in Champaign County and tornado warnings remain in effect until 4 p.m., but the dangerous conditions should start to exit the area.
The National Weather Service ordered flood warnings and watches in Chicago and its surrounding counties, specifically Lake and Gurnee Counties. A sinkhole also swallowed three cars at 96th and Hudson in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood of the city.
But the worst appears to be over in central Illinois.