Severe weather plowed through the Springfield area bringing widespread unconfirmed reports of tornadoes.
The Sangamon County Office of Emergency Management, however, says there’s nothing to indicate a tornado either on radar or through damage seen on the ground. Director David Butt says it was what’s called a “microburst.”
“Rain from the thunderstorm comes down with such force that it amplifies the wind and we have a rain shaft, which some people might say looks like a funnel,” says Butt.
There were numerous reports from people who thought they saw funnel clouds near Chatham and Riverton. There was a brief tornado warning Monday afternoon which was cancelled 25-30 minutes early.
Trees and power lines were down across Springfield, and more than six thousand people lost power. But the most severe damage occured in the Lincoln Place mobile home park in Riverton where Lisa Ross has lived for four years.
“Basically all I [saw] was this big burst of wind, it was very, extremely windy, I know that,” says Ross. “I could see my whole trees… that whole thing just cracked at once.”
About a hundred homes were damaged, but only one minor injury was reported. The park was evacuated while electricity and gas was shut off. Residents will be able to return in a couple of days once everything is cleaned up.
You can listen to an interview with Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson by clicking play on the audio link below. A conversation with Sangamon County OEM Director David Butt will play in the same file after Williamson’s interview.