Afternoon storms cause local damage, more storms expected through Thursday night

MARION COUNTY — Heavy thunderstorms barreled through Marion County Wednesday afternoon, leaving damage in its wake from quarter to half-dollar sized hail in Salem and the surrounding area.

Hail causes damage Wednesday in Salem (Credit: Christy Dubson-Van Houtin)
Hail caused damage Wednesday in Salem
(Credit: Christy Dubson-Van Houtin)

Just as a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Marion County, quarter sized hail was being reported in Odin, which quickly moved into Salem and resulted in numerous vehicles being damaged.

Severe weather predictions have prompted Illinois emergency officials to ask residents to be prepared if storm warnings are issued.

The National Weather Service says heavy rainfall and dangerous thunderstorms are possible for most of Illinois starting Wednesday evening through Thursday night. Forecasters say lightning, hail and damaging winds could occur.

Illinois Emergency Management Agency director James Joseph warns residents to be aware of the severe weather chances. He says residents should be prepared to seek shelter and not go down flooded roads.

The Salem Police Department warns that with severe weather on the horizon, if tornado sirens are sounded in Marion County that means a tornado warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for all or portions of Marion County and valuable time should not be spent calling 911 to ask why the sirens are sounding.

When you hear sirens, act immediately and seek shelter, while monitoring weather radio, local radio, or TV for weather updates. They also note that the sirens are meant for outdoor warning only, and you should not rely on hearing the sirens indoors, or to wake you while you sleep.