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Storms knocks out power for 10K-plus in area

STERLING – Area residents started Monday battling extreme, above-average temperatures.

By mid-afternoon, there were power outages, downed power lines and trees blocking various roads in the twin cities.

Paul Callighan, a spokesperson with ComEd, said 9,000 customers in Whiteside County were without power as a result of the storm. Another 1,400 customers are without power in Lee County.

“We are currently assessing the damage and getting information from the field,” Callighan said. “At this time, we have no definitive restoration times. We will work throughout the night and into [today] to make repairs.”

About 10:30 p.m. Monday, Callighan said about 5,000 customers still were without power in Whiteside and Lee counties.

There was a downed power line right outside a house on 15th Street near Lincoln Elementary School in Sterling where Martin Cossman and his girlfriend, Debra Rodriguez, live.

To make matters worse, there also was a large tree down in front of their place.

“ComEd has been contacted about the power lines, but we have power,” Cossman said. “Other than the tree and downed power line, we are good.”

Cossman also said he was watching the storm when he saw a transformer blow nearby.

“I used to be an electrician, so when I saw the transformer go, I knew the power line was going to fall,” he said. “I can move the power line myself, but ComEd needs to see the damage.”

Jamie Riley, 15, was at home with her sister, Madison, 16, when their large, black and blue trampoline blew across the street. It was destroyed in the storm.

“It was in my backyard and, as the storm went on, it rolled though the driveway and it was hooked to the tree across the street,” said Jamie, who lives off 11th Avenue in Sterling, near Jefferson Elementary School.

Jamie got the trampoline as a 14th birthday gift and used to be in tumbling, so she used it to practice.

“My friends would also get on it with me sometimes,” Jamie said. “We may get a bigger one, but I don’t know.”

Rock Falls Police Chief Michael Kuelper said several roads are shut down because of downed trees and power lines.

He also estimates about 50 percent of the town is without power.

“We had a fire on a branch on top of some power lines,” Kuelper said. “We have no injuries reported, so we are doing good there.”

The high temperature was 86 degrees Monday in Sterling, according to the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. Tack on the extra moisture in the air, and it felt like it was almost 100 degrees.

The average high temperature for this time of year is 83.

It was so warm, students in local school districts were sent home early.

“We had a 2-hour early dismissal,” said Tad Everett, superintendent of the Sterling School District. “We based that information on the NWS extreme heat advisory and because we have air conditioning in five of the six buildings in the school district. The entire high school is not air-conditioned.”

Dixon Superintendent Mike Juenger said the decision to dismiss students early was an easy one.

“The high school had condensation on the floor and handrails,” Juenger said. “It was a pretty easy call for us.”

The only building in the district that has air conditioning is the one that houses Reagan Middle School and Madison Elementary.

“The elementary school buildings were miserable,” Juenger said.

Temperatures today will reach the mid-80s. There will be continued threats of showers and thunderstorms for the rest of the week.

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