The severe storm that blasted Galesburg on Thursday afternoon, killed a man in rural Victoria, injured several others in the area and left thousands without power.
Clarence F. “Bud” Schielein, 86, of Edwards, was pronounced dead at approximately 2:22 p.m. by Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas. The initial investigation revealed Schielein was struck by a tree at the New Windsor Sportsman Club in rural Victoria as a result of the storm.
Several others were injured in the fast-moving storm that hit Galesburg just after 1 p.m., uprooting trees and bringing down branches and power lines with straight-line winds estimated up to 80 mph.
Galesburg was among the areas hit hardest by the storm, which gained intensity in Warren and Knox counties and stretched to the Chicago area, moving at up to 70 mph.
Neal Johnson, spokesman for Ameren, said there were 400 employees in the field overnight working to restore power, and additional crews were sent out at dawn. He said damage was extensive throughout the Galesburg area due to broken poles and downed power lines, with restoration efforts expected to continue into the weekend.
More than 9,800 households in Galesburg and more than 2,000 households in Monmouth still without power without power at 9:30 this morning.
“It will go into the weekend There was widespread damage with this tremendous amount of wind,” Johnson said. “Straight-line winds are almost like hurricanes. They do a tremendous amount of damage.”
Ameren officials are encouraging people to treat any downed wire as if its hot and report it to local authorities and to Ameren.
Dr. Jim Klein, Galesburg Cottage Hospital, said that compared to injuries from past storms, this one was “moderately severe.” Patients told stories of trees falling on them in moving vehicles, receiving cuts from glass and debris. An outdoor worker was hit by a falling tree and suffered a broken arm.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Klein said he had seen about seven patients with storm-related injuries. All but one were treated and released. One patient was admitted for broken bones and will have surgery tomorrow.
Galesburg Fire Chief John Cratty said the civil defense sirens were not sounded in Galesburg before the storm pushed through.
“We generally only sound the sirens for tornados,” Cratty said. “But this storm developed so quickly, by the time the National Weather Service gave us the warning, the storm was already on top of us.”
Cratty said his department has responded to 35 to 45 calls since the storm struck.
A flash flood is in effect in Knox County through late tonight, with scattered showers and thunderstorms expected today, according to the National Weather Service. Sunny skies are forecasted for Saturday.
Susan Kaufman can be reached at the Galeburg Register-Mail. Ron Jensen, Matt Hutton, Tom Loewy, John Pulliam and Jane Carlson contributed to this report.