By Ted Schnell • BocaJump | Monday, June 18, 2012
People are used to seeing trees and tree limbs fall on occasion during a violent spring storm, but Monday proved the same thing can happen when blustery conditions assail a city even when the blue skies are unsullied by even a trace of clouds.
Starting about 4 p.m. Monday, wind gusts of as much as 50 mph pushed through the city, knocking trees or branches down in six locations by about 6 p.m.
Police and fire vehicles were dispatched to monitor the downed power lines and damaged trees, as well as to block traffic to the streets that were affected.
The first two were reported on the 350 block of Jewett Street, where a portion of a tree knocked out some power lines. To the north, at 138 Jewett, half of a tree came down, striking a house and dragging down power lines.
More power lines came down at 152 N. Worth, just north of Larkin Avenue, and another branch dragged down power lines at South and Vine streets about 5 p.m.
Power outages were localized.
Elgin Land Management Superintendent Jim Bell, who supervises the city’s Forestry Division, said in all there were six fallen trees or large limbs reported as of 6 p.m., some associated with the four falls outlined above, although he did not have the two additional locations on hand. He talked to BocaJump while out with crews that were removing the fallen trees and limbs.
Bell said the city contacted a contractor to do the removal work on the house that was struck by the falling tree.
While it might seem unusual to see trees and branches falling on a clear-sky day, Bell said that in a city of 49,000 trees experiencing 50 mph gusts, it really is not that really strange at all.
“It’s not unusual, especially with the high winds we’ve been having today,” he said. “The trees all have leaves on them now, and they act like a great big sale, and if you have any defect in the tree at all, it will come down fast.”
Bell said the blustery conditions were expected to hit Elgin about 1 p.m. but started later than that.
He urged residents to be safe around fallen trees and tree limbs, particularly if they’ve dragged down power lines.
“If you see a tree down with power lines around it, leave it alone,” he said. “Please, call the city and we’ll get someone out there.”He asked residents to call the city’s after-hours number, 1-847-289-2700, to report a tree down with wires.