Storms pose farming challenges


CHATSWORTH – A likely tornado left a path of destruction north and east of Chatsworth Wednesday resulting from a supercell thunderstorm which moved from the Peoria area to Livingston County.

The system produced a few short lived tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service with visible rotation south of Pontiac as it moved into the Chicago warning area. Widespread rain Wednesday caused flash flooding – especially southwest of Peoria.

Tom Edwards, who owns a farmstead north of Chatsworth, lost a shed and three grain bins in the storm. Pieces of debris could be seen scattered throughout nearby corn and soybean fields.

“They’re gone,” Edwards said. “One of the lids off of these bins is laying out there and the other one is way out there.”

One of the destroyed structures included a 10,000-bushel dryer bin which was in the field. A few augers were twisted together but a few tractors and a combine were salvaged. Tools were spread out and Edwards lost quite a few supplies in the storm.

“My daughter lives in Chenoa and she said there was a lot of wind there,” added Edwards.

Cary Dehm lives across the road from a shed along Livingston County Road 900 North that was torn apart by strong winds. He noticed some trees outside of his house start to fall apart when the storm came.

“The tool shed had exploded. It was all this way and outside and everything else,” Dehm explained. “It looked like a tornado hit it or 80 mile per hour straight winds maybe.”

There is a mile strip of noticeable damage in that area. Dehm, who farms north and south of this location, received damage on his soybeans across the railroad tracks. Just a half mile away, it was hard to tell anything happened.

“We’ve been getting three tenths every 10 days which kept everything pretty green.”

Luckily, the Chatsworth area escaped damage from the previous storm system that moved through last weekend impacting nearby Fairbury.

Storm cleanup from last weekend continues in the Gridley area which saw plenty of damage. Denny Stauter farms north of Gridley and is waiting on his insurance company to see the total damage amount on his farm.

“A tornado hit and totally destroyed the first machine shed and ripped the doors off the other two sheds,” Stauter said.

Stauter noticed a 30-foot door thrown into the field a quarter mile away. Part of Stauter’s soybeans had hail damage and some of his corn was stripped.

“It was right during pollination so we don’t know how much is going to get pollinated and some of it is so twisted.”

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