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Residents, officials survey damage in wake of Wednesday night storms

National Weather Service crews may be headed to several communities in Illinois and Indiana to survey damage. Several reports of funnel clouds are yet to be determined whether it was a tornado or high winds that inflicted damage.

Kankakee County had three reports of tornadoes. Winfield and Lakes of the Four Seasons in Indiana are wondering too.

Richard Castro, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Ill., said "We are aware of pretty substantial wind damage that occurred in Winfield, Lakes of the Four Seasons and the Crown Point area." Castro said "Based on the damage, it looks like those winds could have been over 70 miles per hour."

The frame of building under construction in Merrillville visible from Interstate 65 on the west side of the interstate south of U.S. 30 was also destroyed.

Other communities reported downed trees, but the storm appears to have largely spared other areas of the damage seen in LOFS, Winfield and Crown Point.

The Indiana Department of Transportation said fallen trees and limbs caused downed power lines on Ind. 2 that forced the closure of the roadway from Interstate 65 to U.S. 231.

As of 8 a.m., NIPSCO reported 7,719 customers remained without power in the utility's northern Indiana service area, with the bulk of the impacted customers -- 2,862 -- being in Crown Point.
At the peak of the storm, more than 44,000 customers were without power.

94.1 FM, WGFA

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Horse killed in barn collapse, result of stormy weather

Wednesday night's stormy weather resulted in few, if any human injury, but one horse was killed when a barn collapsed in Manteno.

Firemen rescued a reported dozen horses from the barn south of Manteno.

The shell of the new Risen Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church — being built at 9000N Road in Manteno — came tumbling down in the storm.

There were three reports of tornadoes in Kankakee County.

The result of the weather was felt in several areas of Kankakee County. Winds reached more than 80 mph. Hail and heavy rain was reported.

In Iroquois County, several communities were in clean-up mode today. Trees, power lines and rooftop debris was scattered about.

Donovan fire answered a call to Candace Grissom's residence on Route 52. No injury was reported. The fire's cause was likely weather-related.

Donovan Mayor Ken Ward reported several volunteers were helping clean up tree debris from the streets and village park.

Weather Spotters from the Iroquois County Amateur Radio Club confirmed threatening skies over several communities in the county's northern areas. A funnel cloud was reported NW of Martinton.

Elsewhere, downed power lines and branches, flooded viaducts and standing water closed roadways. The Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency's official rain gauge showed a total of 3.4 inches of rain overnight.

There were several rural spottings in the Wilmington, Essex and Bonfield areas, and others in the Bourbonnais, Bradley, Manteno and Grant Park areas.

Manteno seemed to be the hardest hit by strong straight line winds that blew through about 7:45 p.m. Those blasts would seem to be responsible for the horse barn collapse, downed power poles on U.S. Route 45/52, and the church collapse.

94.1 FM, WGFA

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Severe T-Storm Watch ....

* Severe T-Storm Watch for Iroquois, Ford, Kankakee counties.

Tonight Showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 7pm. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, and heavy rain. Low around 62. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.

Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. North wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph

94.1 FM, WGFA

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Update: Route 1 Crash Injures three people

VERMILION COUNTY -- The driver of a tractor hit by a semi was airlifted to a burn unit near Chicago. The condition of 53-year old Wendy Gernand is unknown.

Tuesday's accident happened south of Hoopeston on Route 1.

Sheriff's Police reported a motorist rescued those involved in the wreck. The rescuer pulled the injured away from their burning vehicles. The rescuer was also injured.

State Police are investigating the crash.

Two people in the semi were treated at the hospital and released. Authorities say the semi, driven by 39-year old Roger Baldwin, tried passing the tractor while it was making a left turn on Route 1.

Both units were pushed into a concrete bridge rail before bursting into flames. Baldwin was cited for improper passing at an intersection and no valid registration.

94.1 FM, WGFA

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Crash Victims Rescued From Burning Vehicles in Route 1 Mishap

A motorist who witnessed a fiery crash near Hoopeston Tuesday took heroic action by pulling two occupants away from the burning vehicles.

Chief Vermilion County Sheriff's Investigator Rodney Kaag says the witness "saved some lives."

A semi tractor-trailer and a farm tractor were involved in the wreck on Illinois Route 1, about two miles south of Hoopeston.

Kagg reported the Illinois State Police are investigating the crash. He says both units burst into flames. The witness rescued two occupants from the semi. The driver was the only person on the farm tractor.

The un-identified rescuer was also hurt. He suffered burns while getting those involved away from the flames. Names of those involved and the extent of their injuries was not immediately available. The crash also damaged a bridge. Traffic was still being detoured while emergency crews and the Illinois Department of Transportation crews cleaned up the scene.

94.1 FM, WGFA