A menacing line of severe thunderstorms wreaked havoc across the Midwest on Thursday afternoon, leaving behind a trail of destruction and rendering nearly half a million people in Indiana and Illinois without electricity.
The ferocious storms unleashed torrential rainfall, large hail, and powerful winds reaching speeds of up to 70 mph, striking both Illinois and Indiana during the mid-afternoon hours on Thursday. As the storm’s impact intensified, more than 225,000 customers in Illinois were left in the dark, while close to 300,000 customers in Indiana grappled with the sudden power outage.
Power company Duke Energy was quick to respond, issuing a statement assuring affected residents that damage assessment and repair crews would be dispatched as soon as the storms subsided. However, they also warned customers to remain vigilant as the forecast predicted an “unsettled weather pattern” over the coming days, which could lead to additional outages throughout the weekend. Ameren Illinois, another electric service provider in the area, confirmed that their dedicated incident management team was working tirelessly to restore outages triggered by the passage of the powerful thunderstorms.
In the wake of the storms’ destruction, the city of Springfield, Illinois, felt the brunt of the impact, prompting Mayor Misty Buscher to declare a local state of emergency curfew for all public places within the city. This precautionary measure, in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday, was deemed necessary to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of Springfield’s residents in the aftermath of the severe weather event.
As per the USA TODAY Network’s power outage database, as of 6:30 ET on Thursday, more than 233,000 customers in Illinois and over 288,000 in Indiana were still grappling with power disruptions. Sangamon County, which houses Springfield, and Vermilion County were among the hardest-hit areas in Illinois, while most outages in Indiana were reported in Marion County, home to the state capital, Indianapolis, and Vigo County.
Detailed data from the outage database underscored the scale of power loss in the heavily impacted regions:
- Sangamon County: 50,447 outages
- Vermilion County: 30,522 outages
- Monroe County: 29,422 outages
- San Francisco County: 6,544 outages
- Santa Clara County: 3,520 outages
- Marion County: 57,154 outages
- Vigo County: 40,285 outages
- Champaign County: 30,173 outages
- Macon County: 18,313 outages
- Christian County: 9,769 outages
- Edgar County: 9,345 outages
The aftermath of these severe thunderstorms has posed significant challenges to the affected communities, prompting swift responses from authorities and utility companies to restore power and offer assistance to those impacted by this devastating weather event.