A line of severe storms brought tornado warnings, reports of tornado touchdowns, heavy rains and damaging winds across the Chicago area Sunday night.
A large tornado was reported in southern DuPage County, both radar-indicated and by local storm spotters. The National Weather Service is expected to confirm its strength and path late today.
Meteorologist Phil Schwarz said he believes the tornado would likely be rated an EF2 or greater, with winds over 100 mph.
ComEd reported more than 34,500 customers were without power as of 1:30 a.m. Monday.
The wedge tornado was on the ground for about 20 minutes in DuPage County, near the southern edge of Naperville, and traveled about 10 to 15 miles west through Woodridge and Burr Ridge before weakening as it got to the area near Justice.
There have been reports of damage in Woodridge, Darien and toward Burr Ridge, as well as three people injured and gas leaks reported in Naperville.
Video from Woodridge showed extensive storm damage, with even large trees snapped off at the base. Branches and trees littered roads and front yards, as did pieces of drywall and shingles from homes. Signs were knocked over, as were power lines. Emergency crews from neighboring Lisle and Darien also responded to Woodridge to help.
Police in Woodridge said they were in an all-hands-on-deck situation, but that as of about 12:30 a.m. no serious injuries had been reported. They said so far they are mostly seeing a large amount of structural damage to homes and buildings.
A tweet just before 1 a.m. from the Woodridge Police Department asked residents to stay home and avoid the areas of Janes Avenue, Woodridge Drive, and Woodward Avenue.
In a rare instance, the ball of debris created by the unconfirmed tornado was visible on radar near the area of I-55 in Burr Ridge.
Mowry said it was the most intense tornado this area has seen in a long time, and that the scope of the damage is likely to be great especially due to its wedge shape. Schwarz noted that while northeast Illinois has seen a number of larger tornadoes in the recent past, they’ve happed in much more rural areas with a lower density of people.
The amount of damage is making it difficult for emergency crews to reach people who may need help. Some emergency responders are trying to reach anyone who may need help, while others work to clear roads to help them get through.
Torrential rain in Chicago caused major flooding in the city, with cars trying to navigate through six inches of water at I-55 and Kedzie in Brighton Park. Because the entire Chicago area has been experiencing so much drought, the ground is hard and dry and less able to absorb rain, which contributes to flash flooding conditions.
By 12:40 a.m. nearly 2 inches of rain had fallen at O’Hare International Airport and nearly an inch had fallen at Midway International Airport.
The line of storms formed along a cold front moving into the Chicago area Sunday afternoon. As a result, the weather the next few days is going to be drastically different from June so far, cool and comfortable as people clean up in the aftermath of this powerful tornado.