June ends with stormy weather in region
The last week of June ended on a stormy note in the Union County area.
The final days of the month also were highlighted by very hot and humid weather in the region.
Strong storms swept through the area on Tuesday evening, June 26, and again on Thursday evening and night, June 28.
Several rounds of stormy weather were recorded each day.
The storms were accompanied by very heavy rain; strong, damaging winds; frequent lightning and thunder; and hail.
Power outages were reported in connection with both rounds of stormy weather.
Multiple Rounds on June 26
The National Weather Service office in Paducah reported that on June 26, multiple rounds of thunderstorms moved across the region through the course of the day.
The first line of storms produced numerous reports of wind damage as it moved through portions of Southern Illinois and northwest Kentucky during the morning hours.
Additional development then occurred over Southeast Missouri by mid-afternoon, with this cluster spreading eastward through the early evening hours.
Finally, another line of storms moved in from south central Missouri around 6:30 p.m. and progressed rapidly through the area, exiting by around 10 p.m.
Damaging winds were the main impact associated with all three rounds of storms.
The weather service reported that it had more than a dozen observing stations which reported winds between 45 miles per hour and 63 mph.
Torrential rainfall of 1 to 2-plus inches was observed in some areas, along with some reports of hail, mostly up to the size of nickels. However, there was a report of ping pong ball sized hail in Van Buren, Mo.
Heavy rain which fell in the Anna area caused flooding along several streets, including East Vienna Street and Transcraft Drive.
Pea-sized hail also was seen in Anna during the storm.
Two Rounds of Severe Thunderstorms June 28
The weather service reported that two rounds of severe thunderstorms occurred on Thursday, June 28.
The first round during the midday hours was relatively minor.
The more significant outbreak occurred during the evening hours, when a thunderstorm complex raced southward across Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky.
Widespread wind damage occurred with this complex, which met the definition of a derecho.
The weather service explained that a derecho (pronounced similar to “deh-REY-cho” in English), is a widespread, long-lived wind storm associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms variously known as a squall line, bow echo or quasi-linear convective system.
Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of a tornado, the damage typically occurs in one direction along a relatively straight swath.
As a result, the term “straight-line wind damage” sometimes is used to describe derecho damage.
By definition, a derecho must include wind gusts of at least 58 mph (50 knots or 93 km/h) or greater along most of its length.
While derecho winds typically are less than 100 mph, gusts as high as 130 mph have been recorded, which are equivalent to those with strong EF2 tornadoes.
As of late Friday afternoon, one tornado has been confirmed.
A weak EF-0 tornado occurred near Johnston City, in Williamson County.
A softwood tree was snapped in front of a single story house and several shingles were blown off of the roof.
Two garage buildings were blown off their foundation, and debris was scattered for a couple of hundred yards.
A tree fell onto power lines, causing a wooden power pole to snap at the base.
An eyewitness reported watching a tornado destroy the two garage buildings. The tornado continued on the ground a few hundred yards onto his property, where he saw a cedar tree that was briefly lifted and other numerous trees snapped.
Straight-line winds in excess of 65 mph were responsible for most of the damage in the region.
Derechos can contain winds of 100 mph or more, as people in the region saw during a “super-derecho” that struck parts of Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri in May 2009.
The weather service reported that the highest measured wind in the region during the June 28 storms was 67 mph which was recorded at the Southern Illinois Airport between Carbondale and Murphysboro.
Winds of 62 mph were recorded at Barkley Regional Airport in West Paducah.
Several large trees which had snapped and fallen were seen along Skyline Drive last Friday near Alto Pass.
Ameren Works to Restore Power
Ameren Illinois field crews and support staff restored service to more than 30,000 customers in the wake of the strong storms which struck on June 28.
Southern Illinois and the metropolitan East St. Louis area were reported to have been the hardest hit areas.
More than 600 line, forestry and support personnel worked throughout the evening to make repairs to 129 broken poles and other widespread damage caused by high winds and heavy storms.
Ameren Illinois had 400 additional resources arriving in the areas June 29 to work until a remaining 44,000 customers were restored.
“As the sun comes up, our crews are getting a better look at the extent of the damaged infrastructure and determining the resources that will be needed to make the remaining repairs. This was a powerful storm that caused significant damage. We’re dealing with multiple poles, wires, and large trees down. We will be working throughout the day and night to restore power as quickly and safely as possible,” said Richard J. Mark, president and chairman of Ameren Illinois in the aftermath of the storm.
By Saturday, Ameren Illinois reported that field crews and support staff had restored service to more than 83,000 customers in the wake of last Thursday’s strong storms.
“We thank our customers for their patience, and I extend great appreciation to our employees, contractors and mutual aid utility partners for their continuous efforts and long hours, especially those working in the extreme heat.
Ameren Illinois division operations reported that 168 poles and 481 wires were damaged or destroyed in the storm.
Crews initially focused on repairing large transmission lines, followed by distribution lines and feeder circuits that bring power to neighborhoods.
Excessive Heat Warning
The National Weather Service office in Paducah issued an excessive heat warning and a heat advisory for the region last Friday.
The alerts covered Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky.
Dangerous heat and humidity were expected in the region.
The excessive heat warning was issued for Friday, when high temperatures were expected to climb into the mid-90s. Peak heat index readings above 110 degrees were in the forecast.