Wednesday storms leave path of damage, one death in region

ILLINOIS — Strong storms carrying winds in excess of 50 miles per hour blew through the listening area and the region Wednesday, leaving in their path downed trees, downed power lines, blocked roads, and even one death.

At one point more than 5,000 Ameren customers in Clinton, Fayette, Jefferson, Marion, and Washington counties combined were without power, as Ameren scrambled to restore power to more than 95,000 customers state-wide.

With reports of broken power poles, trees on power lines, and roads blocked with downed trees and power lines, emergency and utility crews were kept busy.

In Belleville a man was pronounced dead Wednesday after emergency crews found him in contact with a live power line in an alley behind his home on South 18th Street.

According to the Belleville News-Democrat, fire crews responded to the area at 5:15 p.m. for a report of smoke showing from a back yard. Firefighters found the man, who they believe was in his 30s, was attempting to remove downed tree limbs that had fallen onto his rear garage.

The tree limbs brought down with them a live line that the man may not have known was there.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

In Tamaroa, a family of three was stuck in their car after a power line fell on it in a storm on Wednesday.

The family said they were driving eastbound after 4:30 p.m. on Route 154 in Tamaroa when a burst of wind blew a tree and a power line down in front of them. They veered off the road and the power line landed on their SUV.

When they called 911, dispatch told them to not get out of the vehicle because of “hot” power lines.

The family said they waited in their car 1.5 hours until Ameren crews arrived to shut off power. They were then able to get out and the vehicle was towed away.

Rain is expected to last throughout the evening and into Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

On Thursday, expect partly cloudy skies with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. The high will reach 90. It will be partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday night with a low around 70.

It will be mostly cloudy early in the morning Friday before becoming partly sunny. There’s a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms and highs will be in the mid 80s. For Friday night, expect partly cloudy skies with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. The low will dip to the upper 60s.