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Severe weather rolls into Chicago

Thunderstorm warnings and tornado watchers abound in the Chicago area.

Check the Chicago Weather Center for the latest details.


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Severe weather barreled through Illinois and Indiana yesterday.

The people of Manteno, Illinois are cleaning up after a tornado.

The storm crushed a barn last night with 10 show ponies inside. The prize mare was killed in the destruction.  Neighbors helped pull the rest to safety.

Elsewhere in the state, straight-line winds flattened a church that was just being built and was 75 percent completed, but not a single person was hurt.

Powerful winds damaged a giant grain silo in DeKalb County.

Storms with high winds and heavy hail also toppled power lines in Indiana.

State Road 2 was closed this morning between US 231 and I-65 in parts of Lake and Porter Counties.

The Indiana Department of Transportation says it could be three days before the road reopens.

For the first time since mid afternoon, there are no severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings in effect for the Chicago Metro area, however a myriad of flash flood warning remain in effect until the predawn hours on Thursday.

Additionally, a tornado watch continue until 11pm for north central and northwest Illinois and a severe thunderstorm watch continues from the immediate Chicago area east across Indiana until 1am.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms continue and the potential for more severe weather still exists.

For more updates, log on to Chicago Weather Center.


Severe weather moves through Chicago area

Severe storms have hit the Chicago area and forecasters warn heavy rain, strong winds and large hail expected could plague the city and suburbs through the evening.

Some funnel clouds were reported along with wind damage, but the National Weather Service could not confirm any tornado touchdown. The wind and heavy rain caused traffic and commuter train problems, and some tree and power line damage has been reported although the power outages have been minimal.

A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect until 1 a.m. for Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will and other Chicago area counties. Isolated severe storms were coming through the area, according to the National Weather Service. As of about 8:15 p.m. radar showed most of the major storm activity south of Joliet and into northeastern Indiana, with rain and a few scattered storms throughout the rest of the area.

Law enforcement sources reported tree and power line damage in the area of Shabbona and Sleepy Hollow Roads in DeKalb County, possibly due to a tornado touchdown, but that has not been confirmed, according to the National Weather Service.

Similar damage, along with some damage to boats, was reported at Shabbona Lake State Park.

Funnel clouds were reported west of Chicago. The National Weather Service said a spotter had called in to report a tornado touching the ground near Somonauk, but the service was unable to confirm the report.

A tornado watch was issued for areas west of Chicago, including Rockford and DeKalb. The weather service said “potentially significant” tornadoes are possible in northwest Illinois.

Aurora activated the city’s severe weather sirens due to a tornado warning issued for Kendall County, but there have been no tornadoes spotted within the city limits, a city spokesman said about 5:40 p.m.

The area is seeing heavy rain, some hail and lots of lightning and thunder, but there have not been any confirmed damage reports except for the Aurora Fire Department responding to two calls of apparent lightning strikes on electrical transformers. There were no fires to any structures, said Dan Ferrelli, city spokesman.

All inbound and outbound trains on Metra’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific lines were temporarily halted about 5:30 p.m. due to the severe weather, along with some stoppages on other service, according to a Metra spokesman.

Of Metra’s 11 train lines, eight were moving again by a little before 7 p.m. Trains on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line had resumed service around 6 p.m. after being halted due to safety concerns earlier in the evening.

Trains on the Union Pacific lines remained stopped from about 5:30 p.m. until about 7:05 p.m., said Metra spokesman Tom Miller, but all service had resumed after that time. Delays were spread throughout the system.

At about 6:30 p.m., 11,236 ComEd customers were without power, including 1,546 customers in Chicago. ComEd spokesman John Schoen noted that that’s a small portion of the utility’s 3.8 million customers.

Schoen said the system was performing “very well” under the dangerous weather conditions, although ComEd announced it was adding work crews in anticipation of damage and power outages.

Lightning was the suspected cause of a Lemont house fire this evening, said Lemont Fire Chief Carl Churulo.

Fire crews battled the fire on the second story of the house in the 16400 block of Alba at about 6 p.m., Churulo said.

Much of the area saw brief episodes of hail, especially in Kane and Kendall counties, with the size described as being from nickel-sized to golfball-sized.

A flood watch is in effect for Chicagoland from 4 p.m. through late tonight, with heavy rain predicted between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Rainfall could total two to three inches in some places.

Airlines had to cancel hundreds of flights at O’Hare International Airport, and many flights were delayed, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The storms could bring a “potentially dangerous weather situation,” meteorologist Tom Skilling said shortly before noon on WGN-TV. He said a “big batch” of storms could roll through the area in the early evening.

The weather service said the storms could include “damaging” winds with gusts over 75 mph, large hail and flash flooding.

As a precaution, the White Sox canceled their night game against Toronto. The city canceled all outdoor events at Millennium Park, including the opening night of the Grant Park Music Festival.

The city of Evanston has closed facilities and sent workers home early.

It’s a precaution that the city hasn’t had to take since the 2011 blizzard, said city spokesman Eric Palmer.chi-storms-headed-toward-chicago-could-bring-h-001

“We’re taking this seriously,” Palmer said.  “This (storm) looks as if it’s going to come into the metropolitan area during rush hour. We want to make sure that we can get our staff home safely.”

Evanston closed all of its facilities as of 3 p.m. and is closing all beaches. Officials are also calling around to construction sites to make sure that construction materials are tied down and cranes are secured before winds pick up, Palmer said. Most city employees have been sent home, but some were held back in case the storms take down trees or cause flooding, Palmer said.

Showers and thunderstorms are predicted into early Thursday, then the day will turn mostly sunny and cooler, with high temperatures in the mid 60s.

-Chicago Tribune Reporting

A house in the Chicago suburb of Lemont was struck by lightning during Wednesday’s severe storms.

A bolt of lightning struck the home just before 6 p.m.

The family of four was at home at the time but was able to get out.

No one was injured.

Heavy rains and winds cause damage across suburbs

Time lapse: Storm clouds roll in over Chicago

Raw: Severe weather cancels events in Millennium Park

A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect until 1 a.m. for Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will and other Chicago area counties.

As a result, rail, air and road travel has been compromised.

Metra has halted inbound and outbound trains on the BNSF Railway as well as the Union Pacific North and West Lines. Check for the latest updates.

By about 3:30 p.m., airlines had cancelled about 100 flights at O’Hare International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Midway International Airport is reporting normal operations but officials there are anticipating delays

As for the roads, expressways were congested with people trying to race home from work before the storm hits. For the latest updates, check

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is encouraging the public to take precautions for the chance of high winds of up to 75-80 mph, very large hailstones, flash flooding and the possibility of tornadoes.

The OEMC says residents should stay indoors if possible and take shelter at the first sign of lightning or strong winds.

If you’re heading to tonight’s Blackhawks game, the OEMC urges you to take extreme caution and allow for extra travel time to and from the game.

The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.

screenshot5A confirmed tornado was reported at Somonauk at 4:56 pm  moving east at 30 mph.

Wind damage has been reported near Shabonna  in DeKalb County- trees and power lines down near Shabonna and Sleepy Hollow roads.

Latest updates on our Chicago Weather Center severe weather blog.

–Steve Kahn, Chicago Weather Center blogger

Wednesday night’s game between the Chicago White Sox and Toronto at U.S. Cellular Field has been postponed because of the threat of severe weather.

A makeup date and time will be announced at a later date. The Sox already have three games rescheduled for later this season. Toronto will fly to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to play Texas on Thursday night.

Fans are asked to keep their game tickets and parking coupons for Wednesday night’s game until a makeup date is announced.

The Sox haven’t set their rotation for a four-game series at Houston starting Friday night, but it’s likely that left-handed ace Chris Sale will have his start pushed back from Wednesday night to Friday night.

-Chicago  Tribune reporting