Golf-ball size hail busts city windows

July 1, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Dozens of police squad cars suffered hail damage at the Chicago Police Department's Area 4 headquarters in the 3100-block of West Harrison. Almost every police car in the parking lot was damaged.

People woke up this morning to pick up the pieces after strong storms punished the Chicago area with hail, rain, wind and lightning.

Allen Teasley is cleaning up leaves on South Whipple. He heard the wild weather.

"There was a lot of lightning and thundering, and then all of a sudden it just started pouring down rain and a lot of big old hail balls," said Teasley.

Nearby, golf-ball size hail damaged 64 police cars in the city's 11th District. Forty-nine cars cannot be in service because of significant glass damage.

Police say the department can reallocate cars so it will not have an effect on service.

"This does impact normal day-to-day operations, especially in a district like this," said Chicago Police Lieutenant John Andrews. "This is one of the busiest districts in the city, if not the busiest. But, is this something that we're not prepared for? No."

On North Albany Street, senior citizens found their cars badly banged up. At the Matthew Manor Catholic senior housing complex, 271 N. Albany, hail busted out back windshields and damaged more than a dozen cars. Shattered glass was tossed around the parking lot.

Eighty-three-year-old Carlee Sneed has several cracks in her front windshield.

"This is God's work," Sneed said. "Ain't nothing I can do about it. I can't feel bad about it, you know, the senior citizens and all that while we're living here, but it's God's plan."

The heart of the city suffered some significant damage. A light pole was knocked over at Randolph and Columbus and a large tree snapped in two at Delaware and DeWitt in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood.

Trees were also uprooted along the lakefront.

Meanwhile, the park district had to close the Garfield Park Conservatory Friday because of hail damage after it shattered glass on the conservatory.

Two showrooms at the conservatory were badly damaged. Park officials say it will be closed until further notice.

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