Morris Attempts to Power Back Up After Tornado, Storms

Hundreds of trees downed, extensive power outages and water problems reported

By Natalie Martinez and Lauren Petty
|  Wednesday, Jul 2, 2014  |  Updated 5:56 AM CDT
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Torrential rain and high winds caused extensive damage and knocked out power to thousands of customers in Morris. NBC Chicago's Regina Waldroup reports for the NBC 5 NEWS at NOON on July 1, 2014.

Torrential rain and high winds caused extensive damage and knocked out power to thousands of customers in Morris. NBC Chicago's Regina Waldroup reports for the NBC 5 NEWS at NOON on July 1, 2014.

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The lights are slowly starting to come back on in the town of Morris following Monday night's severe weather.

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday that five tornadoes touched down in Illinois, one of them in Morris.

Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes estimated Tuesday that more than 300 trees were damaged in a pair of strong thunderstorms that raked northern Illinois.

About 80 percent of the city's power customers lost service during Mother Nature's Monday night show of force, and ComEd crews are working to restore power.

Another concern is the reserves of water that serve the town of 15,000.

"Our four wells that supply domestic and firefighting water have no electrical service," Steffes said. "Since last night at 9:30 p.m. we have been consuming water. We haven't had any fires, but we're depleting our system with no way of replenishing it."

The town has rented a couple of generators that will be able to power one of the wells.

Steffes said a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for the Grundy County city at 9:32 p.m. Monday. Within 10 minutes, he said the storm was upon them with high winds, near-constant lightning and torrential rain.

Early information from the National Weather Service indicated the storms packed wind gusts exceeding 80 miles per hour.

Lincoln and Mary Callahan were home when the worst of the weather hit their home on Lisbon Street.

"It was scary, really scary, it was so dark. You could only see because of the lightning," Mary Callahan Morris said.

"I thought maybe we should move his car, then 10 seconds later the tree that I hate so much, 'Bam,' smashed his whole back window out."

Steffes said there were two reports of people trapped inside their homes from fallen trees.

"We had one call, and elderly senior citizen, a female, trapped in her bed under a tree, and the guys were able to get in crib up the tree and use some chainsaws and rescue her," he said. "She wasn't injured. She was just trapped in her bed."

Morris is located along the Illinois River, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago.

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