McHenry County escapes worst of storm damage

Severe thunderstorms that brought lighting, heavy rain and reports of funnel clouds to McHenry County early Sunday later gave way to downed electrical lines, trees and sporadic power outages.

The cleanup effort kept area police, fire and public works departments busy all day, as officials responded to reports of downed trees and power lines strewed across roadways.

As of 5:30 a.m. Monday, approximately 19,000 customers were still without electricity, including 5,400 customers in the western region that includes McHenry County.

The powerful storms warped bleachers at McCracken Field in McHenry and knocked out power to the Crystal Lake Walmart and surrounding shops along Route 31, near Rakow Road.

Woodstock closed Lake Avenue, Laurel Avenue, Sharon Drive and Country Club Road for multiple hours because of debris.

“It’s more utility damage,” said Woodstock Fire Captain Brendan Parker. “We haven’t gotten any reports of structures damaged. ... It’s the wind taking down the trees, which ended up taking down the power lines.”

Area officials also responded to downed power lines and trees in areas like Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Marengo, McCullom Lake, McHenry and Johnsburg. But the damage was not severe and most local roads remained open, according to area dispatchers.

The rainy and windy weather also forced Santa to seek shelter during the “Christmas Walk” event in downtown McHenry. Organizers still hosted the event, despite some changes because of the weather.

More than 1,700 ComEd customers in the Crystal Lake area were without power Sunday afternoon, according to Crystal Lake police. Downed trees and power lines also blocked several roads.

Route 176, between Hickory Drive and Route 14, remained closed through the night, as ComEd crews worked to restore downed utility and power lines, Crystal Lake police said.

Roughly 200,000 customers throughout ComEd’s service region experienced outages after the storms hit the Chicago area in the late morning, a ComEd spokesperson said.

During the storms, the National Weather Service issued multiple thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches for the county. A wind advisory capable of bringing gusts up to 57 mph remained in effect for the county until late Sunday evening.

The funnel clouds were spotted late Sunday morning, dropping out of the clouds and then retreating again, Bob Ellsworth, assistant director of the county’s emergency management agency, told The Associated Press. Ellsworth added that none had touched the ground or caused any damage.

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