WALTON – High winds flattened four empty grain bins in Walton, west of Amboy, in an area hit hard by Monday's storm.
There was a report that a tornado hit Consolidated Grain Barge Co., 928 Walton Road, where three silos 90 feet around, and one 105 feet in diameter, were completely leveled.
Kevin Lalley, director of the Lee County Emergency Management Agency, said it's too soon to say, but more likely the damage at the elevator and throughout Walton was caused by straight-line winds.
“It’s not a good day to be manager," CGB manager Matt Cessna said. "Thank God, no one was injured. There were four employees here at the time. Could have been so much worse.”
Lalley’s team drove through town documenting damage, and turned the findings into the National Weather Service, which likely will do its own investigation in the morning, he said.
“They are the experts," Lalley said. "But based on what I have seen, I believe we are dealing with straight-line winds, not a tornado. When you see debris from a tornado, it is much more scattered. Everything here appears to have landed in the north.”
Once the cleanup is complete and the insurance payment is in, “oh yeah, we will rebuild,” Cessna said.
A few other residences and farms also were hit, losing roofs, outbuildings, silos and several trees.
No injuries were reported Monday night, but the damage was significant, Amboy Fire Chief Jeff Bryant said.
Elsewhere in Lee County, there were reports of downed power lines and branches, and nearly 2,000 ComEd customers in the Amboy area still were without power around 10 p.m.
Wind gusts in Sterling reached 70 mph Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service, but police there received calls only about a downed tree blocking traffic on East 14th Street, and a few flashing traffic lights.
There were also reports from Dixon and Rock Falls of downed tree limbs.