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Storm knocks out power, downs tree limbs, power lines

 

Several lines of thunderstorms moved through Homewood and Flossmoor Tuesday night, causing damage to trees and power lines in both villages. 

The storms began shortly before 8 p.m. and came in several waves that included heavy rain and strong winds. 

A piece of large tree branch falls after a worker cuts it away from a power line Wednesday morning. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

At 9:30 p.m., Homewood officials posted an alert on Facebook suggesting motorists avoid 183rd Street between Reigel Road and Governors Highway and Dixie Highway from 183rd Street to Flossmoor Road because of downed power lines.

Homewood Public Works Director John Schaefer said he had 11 workers on the job until after 1 a.m. Wednesday clearing debris.

The wind apparently caused most of the trouble. Schaefer said the only flooding problem was at the Dixie Highway viaduct, which routinely floods in heavy rains. The 183rd Street viaduct had some standing water for a time, he said, but it remained passable throughout the night. 

High winds sheared the tops of branches. (Carole Sharwarko/H-F Chronicle)

One public works vehicle was involved in a minor crash while power was out. Schaefer said the incident occurred at 183rd Street and Harwood Avenue and that no one was injured.

Pat and Tom Marszowski spent part of the morning watching crews remove a large limb that was resting on a power line across the street in the 1300 block of Ridge Road. They had lawn chairs out and were enjoying the show.

Pat said their power went out at about 3 a.m. but other homes in the neighborhood, on a different line, went out about 10 p.m. Tuesday. That was one reason to watch the tree trimming work.

“Nothing going on inside,” Tom said. 

Flossmoor Public Works Director John Brunke said the east side of town was hardest hit.

“We will be doing debris cleanup this week and next to get it cleaned up,” he said. 

Flossmoor officials posted an email alert late Wednesday morning noting that at one point 1,000 residents were without power.

“Cleanup will include cutting down hanging branches in parkway trees and collecting downed limbs in the street or parkway. Because Flossmoor was one of the hardest hit communities in last night’s storm, we are asking residents to also assist in clearing drains, debris and tree branches in their yards,” the statement said.

Officials urged residents to avoid parking on the street for the rest of the week to aid crews with storm cleanup. 

Damage to parkway trees can be reported to the Flossmoor Public Works Department at 708-957-4100.

Homeowners collected branches and piled them at the curb for collection. (Carole Sharwarko/H-F Chronicle)

An additional brush collection will take place on Monday, Aug. 30, starting at 7 a.m. to help dispose of tree debris. 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.

Branches should be no more than 6 inches in diameter and no more than 12 feet in length. Brush piles should not be bundled in any way and should not be placed in containers.

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District also reported damage to trees in several parks in a Facebook post Wednesday.

“We have several trees down along with large limbs and debris at Leavitt, Flossmoor, Millennium and Patriots Parks to name a few. Our parks crew is already hard at work cleaning up the mess, but it may be a few days until it’s all straightened out. Please be aware and use caution while out at the parks.”

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