Was there a severe storm in Oak Lawn in the late 70’s that damaged the roof of St. Nicholas church? My sister and I remember riding our bikes, and we could barely ride home because the wind was so strong.
—Katy O’Neill, Oak Lawn
There was. The storm you remember occurred late in the day on June 13, 1976. Severe t-storms developed along an inland-moving lake-breeze front that produced large hail, strong winds, flooding rains, and at least two tornadoes. One of the tornadoes was the Lemont Tornado that killed two and injured 23. We spoke with Father Stephen Bithos of St. Nicholas, who was in the church when the storm hit. He said that the storm tore the roof off the gymnasium, which quickly flooded in the torrential rain. The roof was covered with stones that blasted cars in the parking lot, as if they were hit by machine-gun fire.