Tornado hits Coal City again
Five tornado touchdowns were reported Monday night (June 22) in five Illinois counties, including a tornado that caused extensive damage in Coal City in Grundy County – located in the northernmost region of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. It is the second tornado in 19 months for the community of about 5,000 people.
Other counties affected by the tornadoes were Will, Kankakee, Lee and LaSalle counties. All but Kankakee County are located in the Northern Illinois Conference.
The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touchdown in Coal City about 10 p.m.
Late into the night, crews were going door to door in parts of devastated Coal City, a town of about 5,000 people.
“We have search and rescue operations that are continuously extricating people from their residences,” said Lt. Nick Doerfler of the Coal City Fire Protection District.
Four injuries have been reported but at the present, there are no reported fatalities. At 2:30 a.m., crews didn’t have an accurate count of how many homes might be affected or how many people might be missing.
Doerfler said he could confirm that one person had been taken to an area hospital for treatment.
“We have trees down, we have [power] lines down, we have poles down and we have flooding,” Coal City Police Sgt. Thomas Logan said. “We tried to get over there one time just using a normal truck and we got bogged down.”
A lot of the searching was being done on foot, Logan said.
Coal City and its neighboring city, Diamond, was hit by a tornado in November 2013, damaging about 25 percent of the homes and injuring three people, Diamond Mayor Teresa Kernc said.
Roads into Coal City, including Route 113 east of Route 47, were closed. Interstate 55 near Coal City exits also was jammed, according to eyewitness reports. Grundy County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) has announced no one will be allowed into the community on Tuesday.
Coal City UMC, which served as a Disaster Response Center from the November 2013 tornado has been reactivated into operation. In all, the congregation has 18 first-responders certified by the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
Among those whose homes were destroyed is the church’s administrative assistant. Other persons have reported damage.
IGRC Coordinator of Mission and Outreach Bunny Wolfe and Vermilion River District Superintendent Leah Pogemiller have already been in contact with officials in Coal City. They are planning to make a site visit as soon as possible once persons are admitted into the community.
Among the immediate things you can do:
< > Pray for those affected by the disaster, the first responders and for long-term healing for the community.Wait. If you have been licensed through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, be on stand-by for when a call for volunteer is issued. Remember: responders wait to be invited into a disaster situation. Once site visits and assessments are made, then a coordinated response between IGRC and other disaster response agencies will be much more effective than going in alone.
Donate. The immediate need is to provide plastic totes for Coal City residents to salvage personal items from their homes. There is also an immediate need for work gloves. Cash donations to the Conference Disaster Response Fund Advance Special #6800 will be used to make these purchases and get them delivered to the site. Online donations may be made on the IGRC website at: https://igrc-reg.brtapp.com/Donate-DisasterResponse
Damage reports elsewhere
Power outages and downed tree limbs littered the entire region in Richey, Wilmington and Dwight. The Momence UMC and parsonage both had water in the basements.
At 8:08 p.m., a tornado was confirmed on the ground in Sublette, located in Lee County about 55 miles south of Rockford. Heavy damage and up to 50 downed oak trees were reported across Woodhaven Lakes – a 1,600-acre camping resort. One was hospitalized and four treated for injuries at the campground.
At 9 p.m., another was spotted on radar near Serena in LaSalle County, about 30 miles southwest of Aurora.
The most recent tornado touchdown was reported about 10:20 p.m. near Interstate 57 in Bourbonnais in Kankakee County, according to the National Weather Service. A tornado touched down 10 minutes earlier in Lakewood Shores, just southeast of Braidwood in southwest Will County, according to the weather service.
Roughly 23,000 customers were without power early Tuesday in towns throughout Kankakee, Will, Whiteside, Lee and Grundy counties, according to
ComEd’s outage map on its website. Most of the outages were near Braidwood and Coal City in Will County, Sterling in Whiteside County and Kankakee in Kankakee County.
Airlines at O’Hare Airport proactively canceled 450 flights, and planes were delayed an average of 30 minutes as of 1:30 p.m., according to the city’s Department of Aviation. More than 60 flights were canceled at Midway Airport.