Still many streets blocked from fallen trees and power lines
Ottawa resident Jim MacDougall said he has lived at his residence at 802 Congress St. for 33 years, but as he scanned up and down the street in front of his home Tuesday he can't recall anything close to the damage he saw.
"I'm very surprised with the damage we all have on this street and we've never had anything like this," said MacDougall, his 117-year old home having damage from a fallen tree limb. "It's just a mess."
On Tuesday, like in most parts of La Salle County, the air was filled with sounds of people raking sticks and leaves, generators running and revving chainsaws cutting wood on Ottawa's Historic East Side.
Those sounds will likely remain for the foreseeable future.
The storm that rolled through the city on Monday afternoon caused significant damage to trees, power lines and several homes. A few residents had a good handle on the cleanup effort Tuesday afternoon, but many others that had suffered significant damage were still trying to figure out where to start.
Traffic for the area was being restricted to residents as many of the streets were impassable by fallen trees or power lines. Just off the intersection of Grafton and Main Streets, a large tree blocked the street as it had fallen on a pair vehicles.
MacDougall said he and his wife knew about the incoming storm Monday before it hit.
"We knew the storm and wind were coming because of alerts on our cellphones," he said. "I had gone out to try and move the porch furniture closer to the house, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be.
"It all ended up on the sidewalk down the street."
The home had damage to the porch roof, the limb had pushed in one of the columns that support the roof at an angle and part of the gutter had torn away. While MacDougall said he didn't have any broken windows, he will need to replace several slate tiles on his roof.
"We heard the big branch snap and crash into the house. It was a big thump."
Down the street, the home of Walter Alsene on the 400 block of Congress didn't suffer any damage, but the pair of trees in front of his house lost several large branches. He said the storm and wind came in quickly.
"I was on the porch and the wind was strong, but then all of a sudden big tree limbs were flying through the air," said Alsene, who has lived in the home 42 years and has talked about cutting down the trees for as long as he has lived there. "I said to myself 'Oh crap!' As soon as I went inside and closed the front door I heard 'crack, crack, crack'. The limbs also brought down the power lines on the side of the house, but there are a lot of people here that have it a lot worse than I do.
"There wasn't any warning, we didn't have a chance to get into our basement. A couple of minutes after it was all over I received a message on my phone of a severe thunderstorm warning. There were no sirens or anything."
Alsene's neighbor to the west, Barbara Stanek, said she was in her car on the way to pick up some chicken soup when the storm hit.
"I was on Route 23 heading north after turning off Main Street and the wind started just so suddenly," Stanek said. "Then right in front of me, all these shingles from the building's roofs started blowing off. There was a truck in front of me and I don't even know he could see to drive with all the debris flying around, but he kept driving.
"I turned around and came home, but by the time I got back the power was out and the streets were covered in downed branches and trees."
All three home owners reported no return of power as of yet.