Metropolis without power after EF 1 Tornado, straight line winds

It was an EF 1 tornado that swept through Metropolis, Illinois, but the greater damage to the county was from straight line winds, according to Rick Shanklin with the National Weather Service. 

No serious injury resulted from the tornado damage, according to Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel. But, the city will be without power Wednesday night. 

As you look down East 8th Street, you see broken windows, trees down and uprooted, and a phone line hanging at waist level. The damage in Metropolis happened in what Deanna Latham remembers as in the blink of an eye. "By the time I was told to come here to get to a safe place, it was gone," she told me. 

Latham’s home — mostly her garage that was picked up and moved from its spot at the end of the driveway — was just some of the damage to East 8th Street. I spoke to the owner of a home. It was built in 1867. Some of its second floor windows were broken by tree limbs. 

"We’ve had good times and bad times, and we’ve never lost a life," McDaniel said. He asks that people wait until the power is back on and the roads are safe before traveling.

McDaniel also wants people in Metropolis to avoid being scammed by what he calls vultures: tree trimmers or roofers not permitted by the city to offer their services to residents. He says if they’re don’t have permits, don’t let them onto your property to avoid liability and price gauging. 

The tornado took down trees as strong as the homes they grew next to. It’s those same winds that won’t leave Deanna and her daughter Aaliyah’s memory anytime soon. "Thinking what could have happened, you know, if it would have gone over a little bit. It could have demolished the house," she told me. 

Metropolis owns and operates the town’s electric supply. The hope is to have it back on Thursday. I’m told they have three additional bucket trucks and six men coming to get the lights back on. 

A lot of storm victims are thankful for volunteers. Al Stratemeyer says he doesn’t know them all, but they were in his front lawn since the storm hit, cutting up trees and getting rid of debris. "I think matters like these bring the best out in people. People were driving by, they stopped and helped with everything from moving limbs to using the chainsaw," Stratemeyer said. 

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