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Tree rips through home of Genoa couple as derecho storm devastates northern Illinois Monday

GENOA - On Monday afternoon, Lane Funleaf of Genoa was folding clothes in her bedroom with the window open when the wind picked up and it started to rain. Then she felt the house shake a bit and saw part of a large tree branch laying across her fence.

“I didn’t know what happened, I didn’t know the extent of it,” Funleaf said. “I waited until the storm calmed down before going outside to see what happened.”

That’s when she saw a large tree branch, about 4 and a half inches in diameter and 4 feet long, sticking through the roof and ceiling of her home. The tree branch punctured the roof, tore the ceiling and created a hole in the house’s office.

“When the storm happened, I was panicking for my husband, because he normally works outside,” Funleaf said. “I was praying that he’s OK. I had no idea a tree went through our roof. I heard that our street got hit by the storm pretty bad. There are a bunch of downed trees.”

Funleaf and her husband, Scotty, spent the evening patching up their gaping ceiling hole with tarps and will call a tree service to have the tree removed.

The damage to the Funleafs’ house was caused by a derecho that swept across the Midwest on Monday.

The powerful thunderstorm caused widespread property damage and causing more than 1 million ComEd customers to experience power outages on Monday. ComEd reported more than 570,000 customers experienced power outages due to the storms in Illinois.

A derecho is a widespread, long-lived wind storm. The National Weather Service reported a wind gust of 92 mph near Dixon. In Indiana, several weather stations reported winds exceeding 100 mph.

Texas Roadhouse in Sycamore closed for the evening because their building was struck by lightning, according to a post on social media, and the Kishwaukee Family YMCA also closed early due to a power outage. The greenhouse and farmland at Walnut Grove Vocation Farm in Kirkland, run by the DeKalb County Community Gardens, also received heavy damage.

Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Victor Gensini described a derecho as the Midwest’s “version of a hurricane.”

Gensini said that Monday’s derecho will go down as one of the strongest in recent history and be one of the nation’s worst weather events of 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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