Looking back: Severe summer weather

A shed is destroyed on a farm near Gridley in McLean County / CIFN photo.

We saw our share of severe storms and wind events during 2020 here in farm country.

A derecho made its way across the Midwest in August, impacting many fields, farmsteads and grain bins in Iowa and northern Illinois. This is described as a widespread, long-lived straightline wind storm associated with a group of fast moving severe thunderstorms. Other severe weather events occurred closer to home in Central Illinois during July.

A likely tornado left a path of destruction north and east of Chatsworth in July 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.

Cleanup continued from the previous weekend in the Gridley and Fairbury areas which saw plenty of damage. Denny Stauter farms north of Gridley and was 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.”

Here are some more summer storm photos from the area in July:

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