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Flossmoor cleanup could take two weeks following Monday windstorm

Flossmoor Public Works crews started cleaning debris immediately following Monday’s windstorm. (Provided photo)

Two days after the storm, piles of fallen branches lined streets in Flossmoor’s Heather Hill neighborhood.

On Berry Lane, a maple tree was completely uprooted and there was a hole where its base was formerly located. A few pine trees lined parkways after snapping at the base.

On the east side of Berry, power was still out at many of the houses and there were no lights on at residences without generators.

Flossmoor Public Works crews started cleaning debris immediately following Monday’s windstorm. (Provided photo)

The storm came quickly on Monday afternoon, part of a massive storm system — a derecho — that swept across Iowa and Illinois, causing significant damage in its wake. At least seven tornadoes were reported in northern Illinois and tens of thousands of customers were left without electricity.

As of Wednesday morning, about 15 different areas of Flossmoor were still suffering from power outages, said John Brunke, the village’s Public Works director. Heather Hill and the Flossmoor Hills/Highlands neighborhood were hardest hit by the storm, he said. Wind and tree damage is visible across the village.

Brunke said Flossmoor does not have an accurate record of the wind speed during the storm but that he heard it reached 80 mph. The storm lasted about two hours, from 4 to 6 p.m., with the strongest winds coming in the first hour, he said.

Flossmoor received slightly less than a half-inch of rain during the storm and no flooding was reported. 

Brunke estimated that cleanup efforts following Monday’s storm will take two weeks or longer. Public Works crews started the cleanup as soon as the storm ended.

“At this time we do not have a count on the number of trees that were damaged,” he said on Wednesday.

Flossmoor brought in the village’s private tree contractor on Tuesday to take down a tree and a tree hanger on Flossmoor Road, but the rest of the cleanup will be done by Public Works staff, Brunke said.

Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said, “We are closely monitoring the outage data we have access to and pushing ComEd to restore all Flossmoor customers quickly.”

As Public Works crews continue the cleanup, Flossmoor officials are asking residents to follow the village’s brush collection requirements. Village crews will collect brush that follow these requirements throughout the week, potentially into next.

Branches must be stacked in a pile on the parkway, with cut ends facing the curb, and placed away from parkway trees, mailboxes, utility poles/boxes, sidewalks and hydrants.
The village has set the following additional guidelines:

  • Maximum diameter for branches: six inches.
  • Maximum length: 12 feet.
  • Brush piles should not be bundled in any way with string, twine, wire or zip ties.
  • Brush should not be placed in containers.
  • Brush must not overhang into the street or sidewalk.
  • Brush must not be piled higher than four feet.
  • Brush must not be piled wider than 20 feet.

Persons with significant damage to a tree not in the parkway will need to call a private contractor, landscaper or tree removal company. 

According to the National Weather Service, a derecho produces a swath of particularly damaging wind gusts of at least 58 mph along most of its length with several well-separated 75 mph or greater gusts over an area at least 250 miles long.

Even so, wind speeds in a derecho can exceed 100 mph which is equivalent to that of an EF1 tornado but over a vastly larger area than a tornado would impact. Tornadoes can also be embedded within derechos and produce concentrated areas of even more intense damage.

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