Large hail follows driving rain for Oregon residents as storms move through region on Tuesday morning

Some streets had rivers of hail and rain after storm

A hail stone measures nearly 1 1/2 inches from the storm around noon in Oregon on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

The first of what were expected to be three rounds of storms over a 24-hour period struck the region starting about 11 a.m. Tuesday — delivering hail with gusting winds and driving rain.

There were two storm cells in the first round. The first brought rain and pea-sized hail. The lead edge of the storm darkened skies to the hue of late dusk. The storm lasted about 10 minutes.

The second storm passed through at noon and was accompanied by winds in excess of 50 mph, an alert from the National Weather Service said.

So much hail fell that the ice balls flowed down some streets in Dixon and Oregon.

Power outages were reported across Lee County, but especially in Grand Detour. The ComEd outage map indicated there were downed wires along Illinois Route 2 north of Dixon.

At the Grand Detour polling place on Main Street, voting continued despite the outage with voters filling out their ballots with flashlights or phone lights, Ogle County Clerk Laura Cook said.

Usually, after a ballot is filled out, it’s run through a machine to tally the votes, she said. Because the power is down, ballots were placed in a secure auxiliary bin connected to the tallying machine for storage until they can be counted by judges, Cook said.

“If the power comes up after the polls close, they will put the ballots through the machine,” she said.

At one point, more than 3,500 customers were without power in Lee County, the utility’s outage board showed.

Faith Christian School in Grand Detour announced it was dismissing students early because of the outage.

The Quad Cities station of the National Weather Service reported it sent up a weather balloon at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the behest of the national Storm Prediction Center. It later issued a revised forecast, advancing its earlier timetable for the second and third storms to sometime after 4 p.m. and then after midnight, respectively.

By late afternoon on Tuesday a tornado watch had been issued for much of northwestern Illinois, including Carroll, Whiteside and Carroll counties, not set to expire until 10 p.m.

Across the region, including Lee and Ogle counties, the weather service said there was an elevated risk of thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail. Damaging winds with 70 mph gusts could be expected, the forecast said.

Advancing storms were expected to move northeasterly at 40 mph. Radar showed the storm moving across northern Missouri toward Illinois near Quincy.

Because the third round was expected to arrive overnight, the city of Sterling asked in Facebook post that residents to prepare. “Please have a shelter plan and emergency preparation completed in advance,” the post read.

Broadly, Interstate 80 across north and central Illinois served as the demarcation line between cold and warm fronts. To the south, warmer daytime temps were in the 60s, 70s and 80s; to the north, daytime temps were in the mid 50s.

Because the storm was anticipated as early as Saturday, most locales elected to suspend normal tornado siren drills on Tuesday. The city of Rock Falls reported on its Facebook page that the storm siren in the vicinity of Holland Drive and Dixon Avenue was malfunctioning and required repairs.

Tuesday’s storm followed a March 31 storm that felled trees in portions of Ogle County including Oregon.

A large tree on S. Seventh Street in Oregon was uprooted following the March 31 storm that raced across the region.
A llarge limb off a tree on N. Sixth Street in Oregon fell on two vehicles during the March 31 storm that raced across the region.
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Troy Taylor

Troy E. Taylor

Was named editor for and the Gazette and Telegraph in 2021. An Illinois native, he has been a reporter or editor in daily newspapers since 1989.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.