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Tornado, storm damage reported in Ogle, Whiteside counties

Tornado touched down Saturday night between Oregon and Stillman Valley

Mary Ann and Rich Rhoads of Oregon walk past their barn on German Church Road that was damaged by the tornado on Saturday night. The couple owns the rental property along with Ginger and Gary McDanel. The farmstead used to be owned by Ed and Ethel Dirksen.
Mary Ann and Rich Rhoads of Oregon walk past their barn on German Church Road that was damaged by the tornado on Saturday night. The couple owns the rental property along with Ginger and Gary McDanel. The farmstead used to be owned by Ed and Ethel Dirksen.

Saturday night's severe weather caused damage to properties in Ogle and Whiteside counties.

A tornado originated northeast of Oregon in Ogle County shortly before 9:30 Saturday night and proceeded northeast toward Stillman Valley, the National Weather Service in Chicago confirmed.

Several homes were damaged southwest of Stillman Valley, a NWS weather spotter reported, with at least one roof "totally lost." The damage path contained widespread tree damage and downed power lines.

The storm came into Whiteside County from the southwest, and proceeded into Lee County toward Dixon before it headed toward Oregon. Sirens went off in towns along the path, including Sterling and Rock Falls around 9 p.m.

No tornado touch-down was confirmed in Whiteside County by the NWS office in the Quad Cities. Winds did destroy three farm buildings in rural Prophetstown owed by Gail Goodell, on Lomax Road, along the Whiteside-Henry County border near Leon Corners.

Sara Stutzman, 24, lives on the property east of Goodell’s buildings, which were found shredded up along the road late Saturday night. Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department, and Prophetstown police and fire departments responded to the scene around 8:30 p.m.

Stutzman thought the damage was caused by a tornado.

“I was sitting there cooking dinner and our of nowhere you can hear it come through,” she said. “Then I heard one of our cattle troughs hit the side of the house. I went outside and pretty much saw either it going right in front of us, or just past us.

“It was dark, and when I went outside I could see everything pick up. Water was picked up and it looked like a big mist. I couldn’t see 10 feet in front of me right when I went outside.”

Stutzman’s house, as well as a trailer on the property, did not receive any other damage, but she saw a 50-gallon oil drum flung their direction from the Goodell property. A pair of power lines were snapped, she said.

None of the nine people who live on her property were injured.

“We got lucky,” Stutzman said. “For sure, we got lucky.”

Henry County did have a confirmed touch-down west of Cambridge around 7:45 p.m., the NWS said.

The area is under a wind advisory until 7 p.m. tonight. Sustained west to northwest winds of 25 to 35 mph are likely, gusting up to 45 or 50 mph, with a 40 percent chance of rain, the NWS predicts. Expect highs only in the upper 40s.

ComEd reported power lines down throughout eastern Ogle County on Saturday, with estimated restoration not until late tonight due to the high wind. Other lines were down Saturday near White Pines State Park and Leon Corners.

As of 10:30 a.m. today, high winds caused outages in Whiteside County near Deer Grove, Fenton, and the Hickory Hills subdivision in Sterling; as well as near Maytown in Lee County.

A flood warning is in effect on the Rock River south of Prophetstown until further notice. The NWS gauge in Joslin recorded the river at 15.6 feet, which is 1 foot below major flood stage, nearly 12 hours after registering 12 feet.

Nearly 2 3/4 inches of rain fell Saturday at Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls.

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