Monday, April 4, 2016

Wicked Winds Rip Through Central Illinois

A low pressure system moved across southern Wisconsin Saturday afternoon, creating a tight pressure gradient between it and the high pressure in the Great Plains. If the pressure gradient tightens, the winds will will become stronger as air rushes toward the low pressure system from the high. The National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory for Edgar County Friday night for wind gusts near 50 mph, but there were times Saturday where sustained winds and wind gusts reached High Wind Warning criteria. The Indianapolis office did upgraded their counties, including Vermillion and Vigo, to the warning late Saturday afternoon. Some of the top wind gusts in central Illinois were 66 mph south of Newman, 62 mph in Springfield, 61 mph in Mattoon, and 59 mph Arcola. These winds, if produced in a thunderstorm, would be warned under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Paris's top wind gust was 56 mph at the Edgar County Airport. EnerStar battled power outages in their rural areas most of the afternoon as the winds knocked down trees. Numerous semis, trucks, and trailers were blown off roadways, including one north of Paris on Route 1. 10 miles southeast of Paris, numerous trees were snapped or uprooted, siding was partially blown off a house, and part of a roof was blown off an outbuilding. A dust storm was reported in Shelby County, IL between Shelbyville and Windsor. In Terre Haute, a metal communications tower fell on the old jail and a nearby law office just across the Wabash River. After calming down Saturday night (when temperatures dropped into the upper 20s), the winds picked back up from the south Sunday, but they weren't as bad as Saturday's winds.

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