SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state prison inmates are among those who have been taking part in recovery efforts after last month's deadly tornadoes. The Illinois Department of Corrections says department staff and inmates have helped with debris removal.
The two dozen tornadoes that swept across Illinois on November 17th damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 homes and killed seven people.
The crews will head next to the city of Diamond on Tuesday.
Good news for those still cleaning up from Friday's storms. Ameren reports that the power has been restored to almost all electric customers in St. Charles County and the metro-east.
Steady progress is also being made to repair damage in infrastructure in St. Louis County where an EF-3 tornado took down more than a hundred power poles. Ameren officials say more than 500 poles were damaged area wide.
Ameren's Michael Moehn says it's been a big job with a big price tag. "Roughly speaking we're probably spending about $3 million a day to put the system back together." Moehn says eventually that cost will be passed along to consumers.
As of 2:50 a.m. Tuesday, about 14,000 St. Louis County residents remain in the dark. That's down from more than 35,000 Monday morning and well over 90,000 on Friday.
With another line of potentially severe weather expected to push through the metro-area Thursday, Ameren has place crews on both sides of the river on stand-by. Ameren officials say they've mobilized personnel and equipment to facilitate their response to any storm-related power outages.
But Ameren officials say there are some things customers who lose power during the storms need to do. First, officials say, report the outage. Don't assume the power company knows your lights are out.
Second, they remind customers to stay away from downed power lines and always assume that any lines that have fallen are still live wires. Report the downed lines immediately.
They say to stay out of the way of power company crews who are working to repair lines and restore power.
And finally, they ask customers to be patient. Crews will get repairs made as quickly as they can do so safely.
More tips can be found at Ameren's online Outage Center.
Sad news as crews continue to cleanup efforts in North County.
An Ameren lineman died today while working to restore power in St. Ann. Reports are the worker, an 18 year veteran, came in contact with a live wire and was electrocuted.