Forreston continues to clean up after storm


FORRESTON – For Derald DeVries, the signal that a major storm had arrived, and it was time to head down to the basement, was not subtle.

A large pine tree in his neighbor’s yard snapped off as the high winds hit Forreston the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 10.

“When the tree broke off and cracked, and the neighbor’s apple tree fell in my yard, I knew there was something serious going on,” said DeVries, who has lived in the area his entire life, including 45 years in Forreston.

The storm, which first caused extensive damage in Iowa before moving into northern Illinois, had winds reported at more than 75 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. The storm downed trees, toppled semi-trucks and damaged homes across parts of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

At a press conference last week, Forreston Mayor Mark Metzger said that the village had 13 blocks of structural damage and 41 blocks of downed trees, power lines and telephone poles. The streets in some areas were littered with tree limbs, twisted metal and downed power lines as people did their best to clean up.

One of those people cleaning up was DeVries, who was working at a home his daughter owned in town.

“They said there was 80 to 100 mph winds coming, and they happened to hit right there,” he said, pointing across the street – an area littered with debris.

Not far to the west of where DeVries was standing was a trailer park, where many mobile homes were damaged or destroyed. More than one was lifted off it its foundation.

Gwen Weidman said she was in Dixon when the storm hit, and a neighbor called to tell her a large walnut tree in her yard had toppled.

“It came out of the ground,” she said. “The roots (are) sticking up out of the ground.”

But she said people have been great helping with the cleanup. Besides neighbors helping neighbors, the county had trucks removing debris on Tuesday, and Weidman said a group of workers from Christian Aid Ministries was helping as well. That group helped patch holes in the roof of her house.

“I’m glad there were no fatalities,” she said. “I’m glad they were able to get everyone out.”

Power was out in the village last week, but it was hoped it would be restored by Saturday. After the storm, Verizon provided chargers and Wi-Fi for use at the Fire Department, and ComEd provided a cooling bus.

The village also put a strict 8:30 p.m. curfew in place.

The Red cross also donated items including shovels, rakes, gloves and tarps to help with clean-up. The Salvation Army also donated clean up kits.