2 tornadoes confirmed in Chicago suburbs

June 22, 2011 (MT. PROSPECT, Ill.)

The first one touched down in west suburban Downers Grove at 8:31 p.m. Seventeen minutes later, northwest suburban Mount Prospect was hit.

The storms primarily caused damage to trees, uprooting many of them. The weather service says winds traveled at 90 to 100 miles an hour at the height of the storms.

The National Weather service estimates both of the tornadoes traveled about two miles and were 20 feet wide. There were no reports of injuries.

With all the downed trees in Mount Prospect, tree service contractors say they expect at least a week's worth of work plus overtime.

"Very busy. The boss said we will have a solid week here if not longer," said Mick Toberman of Homer Tree Care.

The National Weather Service says the tornado touched down not far from the Mount Prospect Historical Society Museum, a 100-year- old building that sits next to a historic school house built in 1893. The buildings were not damaged.

"It is just kind of alarming to see all the tree branches down. A little taken aback when I came in," said Greg Peerbolte, Mount Prospect Historical Society.

With power still out for most Mount Prospect residents, generators are being put to good use. Those without them are finding failed sump pumps and basements filled with water. But most residents say they are grateful and that it could have been much worse.

"I have seen a tornado and I've seen the damage that they have done. But here it seemed like it was just too widespread for it to be a tornado. I still think it was straight line winds that came through pretty hard," said Brad Colehour, Mount Prospect resident.

Thousands still without power

According to ComEd, 139,000 customers were still without power at 10 p.m Wednesday. That's down from a total of 440,000.

The north and northwest suburbs have been hit the hardest.

ComEd said it could be several days before all of the power is restored. The company said they hoped 90 percent of their customers would have electricity by midnight Thursday.

Some Skokie residents who were living without power were critical of ComEd.

"I think ComEd needs to get their act together," said Linda Taks.

Taks, along with 240 others, live in the Lieberman Center in Skokie, a seven-story health and rehab facility.

"I'm speaking for those who don't have a voice. Because I can go home eventually, God willing, but they can't. They live here," she said.

Taks' oxygen is hooked up to the emergency power system and had flashlights nearby. The center did everything possible to get through the outage.

"We're able to maintain ongoing operations in a very safe and effective way for the residents here," said Ron Benner, director of Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation.

Lieberman's power was restored about 7:45 p.m, ComEd said.

In Morton Grove, Tom Sandhop showed ABC7 video of the downed power lines.

"The news of the big sparks and the explosions. I grabbed the video camera and ran down there," said Tom Sandhop, photographer.

It's hard to see much without power and lights. And with no appliances, frozen foods are thawing.

"It to be a lot worse. It is not 110 degrees out. It is OK. No damage to the house. You make do. There are lots of people with less than you," said Kristine Sandhop, Morton Grove resident. Delays reported at Chicago airports

Chicago's airports and rail services are still recovering from Tuesday night's round of storms.

O'Hare Airport reported 550 cancellations on Wednesday. Flights are delayed up to 20 minutes.

Midway had only a few cancellations. Flights are running about 90 minutes behind.

Metra says there are still a number of stations that are without power and agents are unable to sell train tickets. For more information, visit www.metrarail.com.

ABC7 meteorologist Jerry Taft says the Chicago area may still get some more rain.

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