The severe thunderstorm produced winds comparable to a category one hurricane in Fulton on Saturday, leaving 1,900 customers without power as of Sunday.
The National Weather Service’s Davenport Office received reports of 80 mph winds roaring through Fulton at 2:05 p.m. Saturday. At the low end, a category one hurricane produces winds of 75 mph.
The large trees that had been torn from their roots and thrust onto people’s yards and numerous downed power lines were a testament to the damaging power of the wind.
ComEd spokesperson John Schoen confirmed more than half of the city was without power.
“For a majority of customers in our service area, it should be back up by Monday evening,” Schoen said. “But there might be some lingering outages until Tuesday.”
The Fulton Fire Department opened its doors Sunday for those residents without power. They offered food, water and showers, all while running on back-up power themselves.
Julie Ward, of Fulton, was sweeping debris from the steps in her front yard after the weather calmed down on Saturday evening. Around her lay several large trees that had crashed during the storm. The path from her home to the sidewalk was one of the few areas not covered with limbs and leaves. “Our back yard looks like a war zone. Our front yard looks like a war zone. It's very overwhelming,” she said. “First we have nothing and now we get this. It’s either feast or famine.”
Ward was one of the lucky customers who had power restored by Saturday evening after five hours without it. Even with power, Ward was in limbo Saturday wondering what, if any damage, the storm had done to her home.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow, I hope,” she said.
For Richard Hoeg, of Fulton, the storm damage was much more clear. Hoeg had a sinking feeling when he got home after a motorcycle ride from DeWitt that he should park his motorcycle inside his garage. While he usually parks it under a patio attached to his garage, the sky and wind seemed ominous to Hoeg, compelling him to make the extra effort to shield his motorcycle. His suspicions were correct.
Hoeg watched as the storm destroyed his patio, damaged the roof of his garage, thrust a branch into his RV, and pummeled the trees surrounding his yard.
“I’m tired. I’m not upset. All this stuff can be replaced. Life goes on,” Hoeg said.