Storms leave damage in NW suburbs

April 6, 2010 9:18:50 AM PDT
Two lines of strong storms overnight and again Tuesday morning have left behind damage in a section of the Chicago area.

The storms brought heavy rain, strong wind and hail.

The first light of the day revealed remnants of the first wicked storm. The National Weather Service said overnight destruction in Bensenville is the work of a downburst. Mother Nature specifically targeted two Bensenville businesses that both lost roofs. Twisted and torn tidbits of roof littered County Line Road; some of the material wound up nearly two blocks away.

In Bensenville, one 50-year-old business was a casualty of the storm. Crews were expected Tuesday to see what they could do to restore parts of the roof temporarily. The owners say they have hundreds of thousands of dollars in precision equipment there covered from the elements only by tarps. The family-owned precision machine shop's factory floor was visible to the planes on final approach at O'Hare International Airport. A 40-foot section of brick wall collapsed and the roof was torn off. The owners were alerted when the alarm company called saying every single motion detector in the place was going off.

"It is a nightmare. I looked at it and thought, that can't possibly be. I still -- I'm looking at it now and still can't believe it," said business owner Penny Glabus.

Most of the storm damage reports came from the northwest suburbs, including Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines. Quarter-inch hail was reported, along with downed trees and fences. About 10,000 ComEd customers were without power. Many of those outages were concentrated near Rockford.

Wood, rubber and metal from a nearby roof landed just 15 feet from an elderly veteran's home. For people in Bensenville, it was a one-two punch -- first the wind, then the rain.

"I hope I have good insurance. I think we do. I always try to cover everything, so I'm hoping. I'm concerned about my employees, too," said Glabus.

"We're making phone calls to see if we can record the damage. I have family to worry about," said Lucky Mordini, an owner whose building was also damaged. "Maybe I will change my name."

"The way this thing hit it is amazing it didn't cause more damage considering what happened to their building down there. We are definitely fortunate, no question about it," said Bill Scholla, Bensenville business owner.

Another Bensenville business also lost its roof. The worst of the damage was confined to a block-long industrial area. Nearby storms split tree limbs and frayed fences.

On Interstate 90, a 70 mph wind gust flipped over a tractor-trailer. Throughout the northwest suburbs, hail, some of it reaching the size of baseballs, rained down. There was also minor flooding that was already receding. ComEd crews were working to restore power to those left in the dark.

"All of a sudden, there was a large swoosh, and we noticed the tree across the street and our fence got damaged," said Bill Werner, Bensenville resident.

Inspectors from Bensenville were out with insurance adjustors looking over the damage and helping business owners.