Wind, rain cause havoc in city, suburbs

July 1, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Near 26th and California the wind whipped trees while sheets of torrential rain pounded the pavement.

As the storm made its way downtown people on North Michigan Avenue were caught in those whipped up winds and rain.

Fire crews were working to secure the building near 22nd street. Glass and debris littered the sidewalk and part of the street below. Nobody was hurt.

And more than 60 kayakers had to be rescued from the north branch of the Chicago River because of the fast-moving storms.

Fire department crews pulled them to safety near the Chicago Avenue Bridge just before 1 p.m.

The kayak tour company says the group was headed back to shore when weather warnings were issued to boaters.

Police say conditions deteriorated quickly.

"I witnessed at least two kayakers get blown 30 feet in about two seconds," said Sgt. Ed Beltran of the Chicago Police Marine Unit. "The Chicago River can be like a wind tunnel so the winds were even stronger because of that and there was also quite a bit of a current from the water."

"They were due back at one o'clock," said Dave Olson of Kayak Chicago. "We got the warning at noon, followed the protocol, told them to get of the water at the nearest emergency take-out."

And the southwest suburbs were still recovering from Friday night's storms when another round of severe weather blew back into the area.

As the storm rolled through traffic lights lost power and trees came crashing down, littering yards with debris.

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