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Summer Storms Hit McLean County For 2nd Straight Day

Summer storms hit McLean County for the second straight day Saturday, with fresh downpours and another series of tornado and flood warnings.

McLean County faced at least two tornado warnings Saturday afternoon—the first near northeast Normal and Hudson, the other in the rural east. Both have since expired. It's unclear if there was any damage or touchdowns. There was a tornado spotted around 4 p.m. near Ellsworth, about 15 miles east of Bloomington-Normal, according to the McLean County Emergency Management Agency.

A tornado watch for McLean County, which was initially expected to last until 7 p.m. Saturday, has since expired.

The flood threat remained real.

Flooding wrecked basements throughout Bloomington-Normal overnight Friday, where 4 to 6 inches fell in some places. Many roads in the southern half of McLean County were flooded, according to the McLean County Emergency Management Agency; a stretch of Interstate 55 between Shirley and McLean was closed due to damaged roadway. Southbound I-55 reopened around 11 a.m. Saturday.

Then came another downpour Saturday afternoon; many Bloomington-Normal streets were under water again. There is a flash flood warning in effect for McLean County until 8:15 p.m.

Authorities pleaded with the public to stay off the flooded roads. Bloomington Fire Department said it responded to over 40 stranded vehicles, making 17 rescues — before Saturday's fresh rain.

The Town of Normal on Saturday night urged the public to avoid the following areas until the water recedes:

  • Kingsley/Main/Center from Hovey to Division
  • Locust Street, just east of Fell
  • The underpasses along Vernon
  • The intersection of Willow and Linden
  • Franklin Avenue
  • Maplewood Avenue

And it's not over yet: There will be daily chances for thunderstorms through the upcoming week, according to the National Weather Service.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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