FARMER CITY – The bench tops of South Park baseball fields were ripped off by high winds and at least one resident will need a new garage after a tree crashed into it during the storm that hit Farmer City on Thursday .
Wind blew the bleachers at Farmer City Raceway and knocked down a light pole, forcing the cancellation of Friday night’s race and postponing the fireworks display to July 7.
Some customers were still without power mid-Friday afternoon.
City Manager Sue McLaughlin said a Princeton power crew, from nearly two hours away, assisted Farmer City power workers to restore power.
“Our crews worked until 3:30 this morning,” McLaughlin said.
Sleep was short as the crews were back to work by 7:30am
Princeton responded through mutual aid as part of the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency cooperative.
“We’ve had a lot of tree damage,” McLaughlin said. “I called it a microburst. They say it wasn’t a tornado. It sure hit our east side hard.
Illinois Route 54 was blocked for a while by downed trees Thursday.
Several power poles needed to be replaced.
The city will collect tree branches. A withdrawal schedule will be announced later.
Mayor Scott Testory said that while the southeast part of the city suffered the most damage, there was damage throughout the rest of the city as well.
“Many of the large trees that fell were rotten inside,” Testory said. “They’ve lost some really big ones. There are several large trees that will have to be cut down as they have been twisted and cut down by the wind.”
Testory said some people have speculated that a funnel cloud has passed because most of the damage is to the tops of the trees but not the bottoms.
It’s the most weather damage the city has experienced since a flood a couple of years ago.
Testory said electricity is the big problem in the city.
“This is by far the hardest time we’ve had restoring[power]to Farmer City,” he said. “It usually comes back on in 30 minutes or an hour.
“One of our feeders has fallen. We have our power plant in Farmer City and have started producing power locally. There are times when the grid is overloaded and we send energy to other cities. It’s all part of being a co-op.
After the storm, about half of the city was without power.