Tornado confirmed in Matteson

June 25, 2010 6:46:42 AM PDT
The National Weather Service confirms a category EF-1 tornado hit suburban Matteson at the height of Wednesday night's storms.

Evidence of Mother Nature's power is everywhere in the suburb.

"There's a lot of damage to some of our commercial properties. So certainly being the fact that nobody was injured here or seriously hurt or killed, yeah, we did dodge a bullet," said Bart Gilliam, Matteson Public Works manager.

The storms cut a path from the southwest to the northeast, and toppled trees into power lines everywhere. Bettye Gardener of Chicago had just re-stocked her freezer.

"I was preparing dinner and all of a sudden I heard something like boom and all the lights just went out," said Gardener.

ABC7 is told approximately 27,000 customers across the Chicago area were still without power Friday morning.

Two hundred and thirty thousand ComEd customers had lost power previously. The city of Matteson had over 7,000 tree-related emergencies to respond to. Utility crews have been working 16-hour shifts getting power restored with the help of colleagues from neighboring states.

"We've got about 450 crews working the storm, about 100 of them are from out of state or contractor crews but 350 of our own folks and they're doing a great job for us and we're very proud of that," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd president.

The Doppler Radar weather system run by the National Weather Service in Romeoville is responsible for all the atmospheric radar information in Chicago. With June's active storm season, some say the forecasters there are relying too much on the information from the ball in issuing weather warnings. The folks at the National Weather Service say that's simply not true.

"Every event is different and we approach every event as its own unique event. A lot of the events seem to take on similar characteristics, but we're always prepared for these things. We're in the Midwest," said David Beachler, National Weather Service.

Around here, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But this is the Midwest and forecasters say after last year's relatively quiet summer, the weeks ahead could bring lots more weather drama.


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