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Two tornadoes touch down in Clinton County
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Two tornadoes touch down in Clinton County (with VIDEO & SLIDESHOW)

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Two tornadoes touch down in Clinton County

A tree lays on top of a car parked in front of Clinton High School on Thursday night.

John Rohlf/Clinton Herald

CLINTON — Trees, power lines and buildings were knocked down as two tornadoes were spotted in Clinton County on Thursday evening. When the storm left Clinton, emergency crews and residents were forced to deal with the damage it caused.

A tornado was reported in DeWitt and a second tornado was spotted near the Clinton Municipal Airport northwest of Clinton, and Fulton, Illinois, according to the Clinton County Emergency Management Office. When the storm reached Clinton High School, Clinton athletes were participating in sports events. As the weather took a turn for the worse, Clinton High School administration had to quickly make sure all of the students were safe. Clinton High School Principal J.R. Kuch estimates it took about eight to 10 minutes to get everyone to safety.

WATCH: Principal JR Kuch comments on what happened at CHS during Thursday's severe storm outbreak.

Although there were no injuries at the high school, a tree and power line near the front of the school were knocked over and fell onto two vehicles parked in front of the building. One of the vehicles belonged to Samantha Burns, who was in the high school pool and took shelter when the storm approached. She came out of the school and found the damage.

"I was debating whether or not to park here earlier today," Burns said.

WATCH: Power line and a big tree down near Clinton High.

Kuch said he was happy with how the administration and students dealt with the storm. He said they went through emergency management training last week, which he thinks helped.

"We used the info (from the emergency management training) and knew exactly what to do and worked together," Kuch said.

A couple blocks east of the high school, an uprooted tree landed on a house at 719 Eighth Ave. South. The house belongs to Justin Babers.

"We got the kids in the basement, then went out on the front porch," Babers said. "The next thing, we heard a boom and didn't know what it was."

The tree caused damage to the back upper corner of the house, where it is one story. It also damaged the second-story roof, where Babers said the roof was leaking.

"We went inside and said stay away, then came up about 20 minutes later and water was gushing in the basement. We came outside and a tree was laying on the house."

According to a press release from the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency, there are no confirmed injuries. The airport had no damage but there were two semis tipped over and blocking traffic on U.S. 61.

Alliant power outages first were reported at 2,221; 1,116 residents were without power as of 7:50 p.m. Thursday.

An Emergency Operations Center was established at the Clinton County Courthouse, 612 S. Second St. Clinton County EMA, the Clinton Police Department, the Clinton Fire Department, Clinton County Sheriff Lincoln and the Red Cross opened the center at 6:30 p.m. The Red Cross was available for displaced residents.

Clinton residents are encouraged to contact the non-emergency number at (563) 243-1458 for trees blocking traffic. The National Weather Service will confirm the severity of the tornado Friday.

Herald Staff Writer John Rohlf can be reached at


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