This power pole was knocked over during last weekend's high winds. It was located in front of the Dollar General in Twin Lakes and repaired the next day. The store was forced to close early   Nov. 17.

This power pole was knocked over during last weekend’s high winds. It was located in front of the Dollar General in Twin Lakes and repaired the next day. The store was forced to close early Nov. 17. (Photo by Annette Newcomb)

By Annette Newcomb/Editor

Nov. 17 began just like a day not that long ago: Jan. 7, 2008. You probably remember; it was unseasonably warm and windy, the feeling something just wasn’t quite right. Unlike that horrible day in January, when a tornado carved a path through a Town of Wheatland subdivision, no tornados developed here on Sunday, although the relentless, high winds made for a long day for many.

A total of 80 tornados were reported across five states. Downstate Illinois was hit hard with tornados reported in Washington County, Coal City, Frankfort and Pekin, Ill.

Debris from Washington County, including a piece of a recycling tote with the county’s name on it, ended up in Streator, Ill., some 50 miles away. Other items including a checkbook, a pair of jeans and a wedding photo also fell from the sky landed in a Streator backyard, according to the Ottawa Daily Times.

And veteran weatherman Tom Skilling of the Chicago Weather Center, said the Coal City tornado has been rated as EF 2 with winds between 111-135 mph. Coal City, Ill., is just 100 miles south of Twin Lakes.

Other reported tornados in the Midwest were being rated by the members of the National Weather Service as of press time.

Locally, Kenosha County took a beating from extremely high winds and sometimes hail.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning just as many church services were beginning Sunday morning.

Father Dennis Stafford had just begun 10 a.m. Mass at St. John’s Catholic Church in Twin Lakes when tornado sirens went off. A total of 300 parishioners headed to the Parish Center in the lower level. There a prayer service was held and at about 11:15 a.m. the all clear was sounded and church members safely left church.

Sgt. Bill Beth of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said that as of 7 p.m. Nov. 17, the county had received one report of a tree that had fallen on a car; 22 downed trees in roadways and one tree on a wire.

Twin Lakes Police Chief Dale Racer said Monday morning the local police department received reports of four trees down in roadways, two reports of trees on wires and a pole holding a transformer in front of the Dollar General snapped and fortunately fell toward the parking lot, not the street.

John Fidler, manager of the Twin Lakes Dollar General said Monday morning that the store lost power for three or four hours on Nov. 17 and was forced to close for that time.

“I came in at 5 a.m. this morning (Nov. 18) and there were a dozen trucks in the parking lot, working on the wires. I think they turned the power off for about 45 minutes but we were open for business,” he said.

Filder said the store did not suffer any damage and some pieces of equipment have backup units that kick in during power outages.

In addition to Alliant trucks working in the area, CCI Systems, based in Edgerton, was repairing lines for Charter Communications.

Project manager Greg Anderson said Monday that crews were assigned to repair damage on Charter’s lines in Twin Lakes, near the Dollar General.

Anderson said his crews were also tasked with repairs in the Town of Linn, outside of Lake Geneva and in Marengo, Ill.

He said CCI is nationwide, but his crews cover a specific area closer to home.

“We cover northern Illinois, southeast Wisconsin and parts of Michigan for Charter, so we will go where they want. We can’t do our work until power is restored, we might have to wait at some areas.”

According to the state of Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Wisconsin averages 23 tornados each year. In 2012 only four tornadoes were confirmed.

However, the state also recorded 62 tornados in 2005 and in 2010 46 were recorded. Residents should always be aware of the weather every day, as conditions are always changing.



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