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When ‘whoosh!’ comes to shove

High winds knock down trees, damage property

Street crews in two Ogle County towns were busy Wednesday after high winds whipped through the area, toppling trees and sending chunks of trunks to the ground – and on a house and car.

Mount Morris firefighters closed off a block of Front Street after a large branch fell onto a house and electrical wires. Firefighters had to wait for ComEd workers to cut power to the lines before clean-up could begin.

Meanwhile, Oregon city workers were busy cutting up tree debris that came crashing down on a car in the 400 block of North Sixth Street.

Resident Rose Thomas said she was trying to enjoy a cup of coffee when she heard a noise, looked out her front window and saw the tree fall on the electrical lines on the other side of the street.

"I saw sparks and then I saw the tree down. Then the lights went out," she said.

The tree also took down Infinity cable lines, causing outages in Oregon.

Street department crews had the street cleared by 3:15 p.m., but electrical power had yet to restored to area homes.

High winds buffeted a parts of the Midwest on Wednesday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a high wind warning until 6 p.m. Wind speeds averaged 30 to 40 mph, with gusts of 50 to 55 mph in some areas.

Nature’s bluster was part of a larger winter storm system that rolled across the Midwest and threatened to scramble Thanksgiving plans for millions of people.

The storm, which was blamed for one death and hundreds of canceled flights, pushed east into South Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It dropped close to a foot of snow in some areas even as the system weakened and headed toward New York and Pennsylvania.

Once it gets there, it could continue to cramp holiday plans.

In New York, the windy forecast could ground the iconic balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Organizers are preparing for the possibility of keeping balloons earthbound because of expected 40 to 50 mph gusts. The decision will be made on parade day.

– The Associated Press contributed to this story

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