Tornadoes leave behind damage, destruction

June 9, 2008 4:44:03 PM PDT
Six separate tornadoes roared through the Chicago area on Saturday from Livingston to Cook County leaving behind damage and destruction. Power Outages

At the height of the storm, 116,000 residents were without power. That number has been reduced to 800. Residents who still do not have power should contact ComEd.

Richton Park Tornado

A huge cleanup effort is underway in Richton Park where a tornado nearly destroyed an apartment building. Some of the people who live in the building spent the weekend in a temporary shelter set up by the Red Cross. No one was seriously injured.

Dozens of workers are carefully chipping away at the badly damaged apartment building. Officials are working right next to racks of clothes and closets of personal belongings that weren't blown away by the tornado.

A giant crane was brought in on Monday to help remove heavy chunks of wood and siding. Residents ABC7 spoke with have similar reactions; they are sorry for those who lost their homes and, at the same time, grateful the ferocious winds didn't do more damage.

"The damage is great but yet it could have been more than it is. So I was grateful to the Holy Spirit for everything that he done, especially my life. I really could have been here but I wasn't," said Trudy Bennett, a Richton Park resident.

Trees are down all over the neighborhood. A crew from Crete is helping out in the area clearing away branches.

"I was kind of in shock because actually that was my car right there with the tree on it. It was horrible. There was everybody, everywhere. It was insane," said Amy Patz, a Richton Park resident.

South Suburbs

The storms also downed power lines all over the south suburbs.

In neighboring Chicago Heights, many power lines are still down, tangled up in a mess of downed branches. Homes in the historic district have been without power since Saturday evening. Food is spoiling in refrigerators and there is no air conditioning.

"We went to church yesterday. That's how we got cool. So we went to church. That's basically been our shelter. Other than that we've been here. It's hot," said Debra Garner, a Chicago Heights resident.

"Yeah, terrible, no power, no TV, no nothing. No air conditioning, no nothing," said Chicago Heights resident Cedric Johnson.

The six tornadoes that struck the southern suburbs marked the most widespread tornado outbreak the Chicago area has seen in over a decade.

North Suburbs

Storms also left behind damage in several far north suburbs on Sunday.

In Lake Villa, one fallen tree snapped a power line. Firefighters made sure no one came across the live wire until ComEd crews could safely turn off the power.

In Lake Forest the storm sent a tree crashing onto a home. Everyone inside the home was asleep when the storm rolled through and toppled the large tree. No one was hurt.

Heavy rain that moved through the area overnight caused some flooding.

In far north suburban Lindenhurst high water forced police to close some streets in one subdivision.

The rising water along Valley Drive near Grand Avenue threatened to overtake homes.

No residents have been forced out of their homes but officials are keeping a close eye on the rising waters.

City Damage

Some Chicago residents also felt the effects of the weekend storms.

One tree on the northwest side crashed onto a garage and knocked down power lines.

Another tree ended up blocking part of Lincoln Avenue near Irving Park road yesterday.

In the Lincoln Park community the storm uprooted a large tree and toppled several garbage dumpsters.

"It's scary when the wind comes up like that and it starts raining sideways, it's really something else. A hard rain in Chicago isn't like a hard rain anywhere else," said Malcolm MacDonald.

The city's Department of Forestry was called to remove nearly 900 trees and large branches.

Flight Delays

The storms delayed and canceled a number of flights out at O'Hare Airport. The strong winds led one United Airlines pilot to abort a landing.

Another United jet coming in from Denver was rerouted to the airport in Gary, Indiana because of the strong winds. Those passengers are now at that airport waiting for arrangements to bring them back to Chicago.


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