Live updates: Dangerous, strong winds hit QCA overnight

Local News

It was an all-time record high for December in the Quad Cities on Wednesday.

According to Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray, temperatures reached a record high of 75 degrees, destroying the old record of 57 degrees, which happened back in 2011.

The morning low was 58 degrees, which he says may be the first time a low temperature has broken the record high temperature for that particular day.

A high wind warning took effect through 6 a.m. Thursday, with the potential for gusts close to 65 mph.

That wasn’t the only record broken, though.

Andy says the old December record, back in 1998, was 71 degrees.

The overall winter record, back in 2017, was 74 degrees.

Winds gained momentum over a span of 12 hours Wednesday, with the worst of howling winds expected to occur between 8 p.m. that evening and midnight on Thursday.

Time-lapse video taken down by the Mississippi River shows clouds whipping through the area all day.

In downtown Rock Island, an orange “road closed” sign got carried away by the wind and damaged the front bumper of a parked vehicle.

People were advised not to travel on the roads, if possible, and to be safe if they absolutely had to leave their homes.

The Local 4 News news crew drove around the Quad Cities Wednesday night to see if the wind had caused any damage.

Local 4’s Karla Sosa reported live around 4 p.m. near 41st Street and 38th Avenue, Moline, where a tree was seen in the middle of the road just after 2 p.m.

She says police arrived at the scene to help with traffic since the tree was blocking one lane.

A tree service arrived shortly thereafter to clear the branches, and traffic was back to normal within 30 minutes.

Local 4’s Karla Sosa reported live from the Flying J truck stop, Davenport, where she spoke with a few truck drivers.

Mark, a 40-year truck driver who had just arrived in town, drove from Chicago and said the weather conditions weren’t that bad.

“It hasn’t been too bad right now, but to my understanding, it’s supposed to get a lot worse, so I’m here for the night,” said Mark.

He said he was advised to stay the night at the truck stop because he heard wind conditions were going to get worse.

“We’ve all had high wind warnings, so it’s supposed to get a little bit worse than it was the other day, when we had the 40 mile an hour gusts,” said Mark. “You’re talking 50 and 60 now.”

Vern, who has been a truck driver for 27 years, says he got a message from his company through a satellite link on his truck that warned him about the weather.

“It told us that, if we’re out, to start shutting down because of the winds,” said Vern. “Our company takes safety real serious, so they’re looking out for us. Looking out for the public.”

Vern advises his fellow truck drivers to be careful when traveling on the roads.

“Back it down because, especially if you got light loads, these winds are coming up. You don’t want to be over on your side,” said Vern. “For the car drivers, keep your distance. Good six-second following distance is really smart.”

He adds that most of Iowa was shut down because of the weather conditions.

“Because of the winds that are picking up, they shut down most of Iowa,” said Vern. “West of Des Moines, south of U.S. 30.”

Local 4’s Karla Sosa was also at Schwiebert Park, Rock Island, where she reported wind was starting to pick up.

She says multiple calls came in for trees that were down in East Moline, LeClaire and the surrounding areas.

As of 10 p.m. Wednesday, more than 52,500 of MidAmerican Energy’s customers in Iowa and Illinois — including the Quad Cities — were without power.

In the Quad Cities, about 3,600 customers of MidAmerican Energy didn’t have electricity.

The Local 4 News station experienced flickers of power in the building.

While there were down power lines and other damage as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, the storm was not as intense as many predicted it to be.

Many traffic signals are still out, and drivers are advised to treat intersections as four-way stops and drive carefully.

Effective 6 a.m. Thursday, MidAmerican Energy was still reporting power outages on both sides of the Quad Cities — 8 customers on the Iowa side, and 315 customers on the Illinois side.

Find the latest power outage numbers in the area here.

Wind and rain weren’t the only sources of concern overnight.

Many emergency calls were placed because of smoke.

Strong winds from Wednesday blew in the smoke from wildfires in Kansas, and it wasn’t just the smell — it could be seen.

A live look at 18th Street in downtown Rock Island around 12:30 a.m. Thursday shows a bit of hazy smoke around the street lights.

Some of the heavy winds with smoke were so strong, several semis were blown off the road along I-80, west of Des Moines.

Early signs of damage to buildings could be found Wednesday in Des Moines.

A balcony collapsed south of the Quad Cities, construction material spread out over a highway south of the Quad Cities, fence panels were blown over in Rock Island and a deck sustained some damage in Burlington.

Local 4’s Linda Cook joined Jim Niedelman during the 10 p.m. newscast by phone, where she described the lack of power in her Davenport neighborhood, two blocks away from St. Ambrose University.

She said, at about 10:49 p.m., the lights at her home flickered before going off. They then turned back on and went back off completely.

According to MidAmerican Energy, her house was expected to have power restored by 12:15 a.m. Thursday.

“It is pitch black two blocks north of St. Ambrose,” said Linda. “This whole neighborhood is out.”

She noticed lights were on at St. Ambrose and the surrounding area.

Local 4’s Matt Holderman spoke with Jim Niedelman by phone in East Moline, where he said tree branches and trash were blowing around, but conditions weren’t too bad.

He says, around 9:45 p.m. to 9:50 p.m., he heard a few gusts of wind that weren’t as intense as he anticipated.

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