Warming center set up in Forreston for those without power

In Mt. Morris, storm knocked down tree limbs, power lines throughout town

Mt. Morris village workers were busy Thursday cleaning up after an ice storm, coupled with strong winds, knocked down branches and trees. Strong winds continued across the region Thursday causing more electrical outages.
An ice storm, coupled with strong winds, caused numerous electrical outages in Forreston on Thursday. Here, a large ice-covered tree branch blocks a street on Thursday afternoon.

MT. MORRIS — Wednesday’s storm brought down trees, branches and power lines in multiple Ogle County communities.

“Almost every block you go through has got limbs down somewhere, all across town,” Mt. Morris Streets Trustee Ed Higley said. “It’s quite a deal, I’ll tell you.”

I spoke to ComEd. They’re overwhelmed. They’re hoping to have everything cleaned up by Saturday night at this point.”

—  Forreston Public Works maintenance supervisor Scott Tim

The three Mt. Morris Street Department employees were out early Thursday morning to start cleanup, Higley said. By 2:30 p.m., most of the streets were open, he said.

Two or three streets were partially closed because of downed power lines, they needed ComEd’s assistance with, Higley said.

Some people still are without power, he said.

“ComEd’s working as hard as they can, but it takes some time,” Higley said. “It’s not like you can just throw a wire up, especially when wires are broken in half or pulled out of the pole.”

In Forreston, about 20 residents and the village’s sewer plant remained without power as of 4:30 p.m., said Scott Timm, Forreston Public Works maintenance supervisor. Officials were working on getting a generator for the plant, he said.

Between 2 and 6 a.m., about half- to three-quarters of the town was without power, Timm said.

“Now it’s just a waiting game,” he said. “I spoke to ComEd. They’re overwhelmed. They’re hoping to have everything cleaned up by Saturday night at this point.”

The Forreston Fire Protection District put up a sleep center, Timm said.

“They’ve got like 42 cots for people to stay there tonight and be warm,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll have some food brought in, too.”

The damage in Oregon was relatively minor, City Administrator Darin DeHaan said.

“A couple [tree] limbs down, a couple wires down,” he said. “No structural damage or anything significant.”

Polo Public Works Director Kendall Kyker was unable to be reached for comment.

Sterling-Rock Falls and Dixon were largely untouched by the storm. A look at the ComEd outage map Wednesday evening showed only isolated power outages in the three cities and their immediate vicinity.

The City of Sterling posted on its Facebook page that “the temperature remained high enough to keep the roads ice-free,” adding that no travel issues were reported.

In Dixon, icy rain fell accompanied by wind gusts, but salt trucks had been out early Wednesday so that streets did not ice over.

The storm largely stayed north of the Sauk Valley.

The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities said the sleet and rain took place during the day but tapered off in the evening. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 1 ½ inches were observed along and east of the Mississippi River. Ice formed mainly in areas north of the U.S. Route 30 corridor.

In Freeport, for example, the city experienced power outages, downed tree limbs and downed power lines.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has seven-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards, including a first place award for investigative reporting from the WNA.