Macomb, IL – Tri States Public Radio was knocked off the air just before 7:00pm Monday by a round of severe storms that passed through the region. It took about four hours before the station was able to broadcast again.
It's believed the station was hit by a direct or near-direct lightning strike. Computer systems in the station were effected, as was the link between the studios and the transmitter.
Operations are slowly returning to normal but the radio station might not be able to air some programs while repairs continue.
Elsewhere around the Tri States Public Radio listening region the storms caused flash flooding, downed trees and power-lines, and even a couple of funnel clouds.
Damage in McDonough County was minimal, but there were a couple of funnel cloud sightings -- including one just west of Macomb over Route 136.
McDonough County ESDA Coordinator Dan Kreps says the only confirmed report of damage in the county was in Colchester, where a home's roof was damaged by a fallen tree. Kreps says a storm spotter also reported a collapsed barn near Industry, but neither Kreps nor the Sheriff's Department could confirm that.
The storm produced a very well defined wall cloud and a good deal of cloud-to-ground lightning.
A trained spotter in Hancock County reported a possible rain wrapped tornado with floating debris in wind and rain.
Lee County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Cirinna says there was little property damage other than downed tree limbs.
Cirinna says Fort Madison was hit hardest. He says several streets, the intersection of Highways 61 and 2,and land near the city's water plant flooded.
Cirinna says several funnel clouds were spotted north of the city.
Cirinna says the greatest risk is flash flooding because river and stream levels continue to rise.
Flash flood warnings were in effect until mid-afternoon Tuesday for several counties in Illinois, including Schuyler, Fulton, Knox, Cass, and Mason. Flood warnings were in effect for the rest of the listening region.