Seneca community assesses damage after violent storms, tornado hit area

One of the communities hit hardest by Wednesday night's violent weather was Seneca, which is a little more than an hour southwest of Chicago.

“A newborn calf was born yesterday morning, and can't find it today,” said farmer Anthony Bromberek.

Bromberek of Seneca has 50 cows on his farm. He's concerned the newest one didn't survive the tornado that rolled through.

“Dont know what happened, if it went and took it, or it got spooked and just took off running. It hasn't come back, no sign of it,” Bromberek said.

Bromberek watched the approaching tornado from his farmhouse just north of Seneca.

“It was scary. I was looking out the window to the west. And way out to the west you could see the tornado hitting the electric lines. It was coming this way, just orange flashes,” he said.

Bromberek lost his power due to the storm. He's been using generators to keep farm operations going. He lost a few trees, the doors on his machine sheds were damaged, and he lost some shingles from his roof and his brother's roof next door.

But overall, aside from one farm that was hit very hard and lost several buildings, the damage near Seneca was limited to power lines and fields of corn, which were flattened by high winds.

Power crews flooded the area all day long to restore power, and are working to replace several large electrical transmission towers damaged by the storm.

“The towers for the grid system leading from the LaSalle nuclear plant, there were five towers that were significantly damaged, almost snapped like toothpicks,” said State Senator Sue Rezin.

The winds were so strong that twelve to fourteen hundred pound bales of hay, which on Wednesday were in a nearby field, were lifted and then deposited in a farmer's back yard.

In the front yard, a huge oak tree, probably over 100 years old, had been snapped off at its roots.

Residents that FOX 32 talked with said they heard no sirens. They were also upset that some media reports gave the all clear too soon.

“They called it off. They said it's over, everybody can relax. and about ten minutes later we heard the train whistle type thing that the tornado has, and we're going to the basement, you know?” said resident Debbie Bolden.