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Some drought relief came with a cost Saturday afternoon as a storm packing strong winds and lightning along with rain swept into Ogle County from Iowa.
Several trees, large branches, and power lines came down in and around Oregon when the storm came in there just before 3 p.m. with 70 mile per hour winds.
Oregon Police Chief Darin DeHaan said no injuries were reported but several trees took power lines with them when they were downed by the winds.
“The loss of electrical power was the biggest problem,” he said.
The storm also left an inch of rain in its wake, a very welcome relief for the drought-parched area.
Police and city street department employees worked all afternoon to clear streets, while ComEd crews worked through the night and into the next day to restore power, DeHaan said.
Most of the damage occurred on Washington Street (Ill. 64) and south, he said, although trees were also reported across Ill. 2 both north and south of town.
On the east side of town, Oregon firefighters helped a resident of Nohe Avenue out his house after a tree came through his roof and into his living room.
“We helped him over to his neighbor’s house,” said Fire Chief Don Heller.
A tree fell across power lines in the 400 block of South Fourth Street (Ill. 2) damaging a utility pole that forced traffic to be rerouted from Madison Street south to Adams Street.
A natural gas leak occurred on South Fourth Street, Heller said, when the wind blew the electrical weather head off the side of a house, and an insulator struck the gas meter below.
Oregon Street Superintendent Mike Bowers said Tuesday that approximately a dozen trees on city property were damaged by the storm, and six to eight of those will have to be removed.
Just west of town, the storm brought activities at the Ogle County Fair to a brief halt.
Fair president Harlan Holm said fairgoers took cover as the fast-moving storm approached.
A large tent blew down, its tether ropes broken by the winds.
Holm said the tent was empty at the time, but would have been sheltering draft horses just a few hours later.
A tree was also blown down, landing on a camper and car, both unoccupied.
“It was a violent storm, but fortunately no one was hurt,” Holm said.
Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn said the storm affected the entire county with not only trees and power lines brought down, but also farm buildings and equipment damaged.
Ogle County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Candace Humphrey said 1,000 residents were left without electricity.
Most of those were in the Forreston area, she said, where numerous power lines were reported down.
Polo residents also reported that branches six to eight inches in diameter were blown off trees there.
The storm struck Polo at 2:40 p.m., was in Forreston at 2:45 p.m. and moved on to Oregon at 2:55 p.m., she said.
The National Weather Service at Romeoville recorded a wind gust of 56 miles per hour at the airport in Rockford, Humphrey said.