Strong storms sweep through, downing trees and cutting power
Downed tree limbs litter an area along 22nd Street in Oak Brook. (Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune / June 21, 2011)
Tornado warnings the Chicago area have expired, and a severe thunderstorm watch scheduled to last until 1 a.m. was allowed to expire early.
For updates on the severe weather, check the Chicago Weather Center.
As of 10 p.m., more than 271,000 Commonwealth Edison customers were without power, according to ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez. Of the affected customers, 62,085 were in Chicago; 151,783 were in the Northern region; at least 10,000 were on the Western region; and 47,462 were in the Southern region, Hernandez said.
The severe weather conditions led to numerous delays of Metra trains as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the agency’s website.
Two trains on the Union Pacific/West line were canceled: The No. 67 train scheduled to depart Chicago at 8:40 p.m. and arrive in Elburn at 10:06 p.m,; and No. 70 scheduled to depart Elburn at 10:25 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 11:46 p.m.
Various trains on the Union Pacific/West Line, the Union Pacific/Northwest Line, the Milwaukee District/West Line and the Union Pacific/North Line had either been stopped or were running up to an hour and 44 minutes behind schedule.
For updated schedules check the Metra website.
Trees were reported down throughout the Chicago area, and wind gusts of 81 miles were reported inWheeling, according to the National Weather Service. Trees with footwide trunks were reported down in Skokie and Deerfield and blocking northbound Illinois Route 53 near Roosevelt Road in Lombard. Two people were in serious-to-critical condition at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston after the car they were in was crushed by a falling tree near Farragut and Leavitt avenues in the Bowmanville neighborhood on the North Side.
Wind gusts of 70 miles per hours were reported inNaperville at 8:30 p.m., 75 miles per hour in Wheaton at 8:28 p.m. and 60 miles per hour at theDuPage County Airport at 8:26 p.m., according to the Chicago Weather Center.
Joliet was pelted with 0.85 inches of rain in 16 minutes at 8:34 p.m.
As of 8:30 p.m., 300 flights had been canceled at O'Hare International Airport, and delays of 1 hour or more were reported for both inbound and outbound flights, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
Delays of up to 2 hours were reported at Midway Airport, and more than 30 flights had been canceled.
Funnel clouds were spotted about 7:30 p.m. in Naperville and about 7:05 p.m. five miles west of Grayslake inLake County, according to the National Weather Service. About 8:05 p.m., another funnel cloud was spotted about four miles north-northwest ofSugar Grove in Kane County.
In Naperville, the City Council meeting was stopped and everyone in attendance was evacuated to the City Hall basement because of "tornadic activity," an official said. People at a book signing at Anderson's Bookshops in dowtown Naperville were asked to go to the basement there also.
Police received an unconfirmed report of a funnel near Hollingswood and Faulkner on the south side of Naperville, said Police Chief Dave Dial. There also was an unconfirmed report of a funnel cloud inAurora, Dial said.
The watch, declared at 5:45 p.m. by the National Weather Service's Chicago-area forecast office, includes all northern Illinois counties except three in northwest Illinois on the Mississippi River. Areas near Peoria, meanwhile, were under a severe thunderstorm warning.
June already has shaped up to be one of the wettest on record.
Through Monday, 6.94 inches of rain had been recorded at Midway Airport, making this the third wettest start to June since observations started at the airport in 1928, according to WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling.
A chance of rain is in the forecast at least through Friday as southerly winds pump warm, moisture-laden air into northeast Illinois, Skilling says.
Some of the thunderstorms this evening may produce damaging winds, large hail, lightning and heavy downpours.
The chance of precipitation tonight and overnight is 60 percent. Highs today are hitting the upper 80s, with 89 degrees at Midway Airport at 3 p.m., 87 degrees at O'Hare Airport, and 90 degrees in Lansing, according to the weather service.
The chance of more rain Wednesday is 40 percent and on Thursday 30 percent, the weather service said.
It will cool off a bit after today. Highs Wednesday will be in the lower to mid-70s and Thursday in the mid- to upper-60s.