Weather Chicago: Supercell thunderstorm creates tornado; widespread damage reported, NWS says

EF-0 tornado determined from unincorporated Schaumburg into Roselle, National Weather Service says

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Chicago severe weather creates tornado, leaves damage behind: NWS
A supercell thunderstorm prompted warnings and left wind damage from Illinois to Indiana. The NWS confirmed an EF-0 tornado in the Chicago area.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A supercell thunderstorm ripped through the Chicago area Monday evening, leaving a trail of wind damage that stretched from the far northwest suburbs to Indiana.

The storm traveled over 100 miles, slamming the northwest suburbs before it dove south, roaring through the city and maintaining its strength as it barreled through northwest Indiana. The National Weather Service confirmed one EF-0 tornado from unincorporated Schaumburg into Roselle. It was flanked on its western side by a swath of severe straight-line winds.

The storm prompted tornado warnings to be issued across northern Illinois and Indiana. Widespread wind damage has been reported. The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation had responded to 337 tree emergencies across the city as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

NWS sent a survey team to the Streamwood/Schaumburg/Roselle area Tuesday morning to investigate two areas of potential tornado damage. They will also follow up on damage in the Westchester/Bellwood/Maywood areas.

A supercell thunderstorm ripped through the Chicago area, prompting tornado warnings and leaving widespread wind damage from Illinois to Indiana.

In west suburban Bellwood, village officials said a microburst ripped off the roof of a multi-unit apartment building near 24th Street and Washington Boulevard. It happened around 7 p.m., just as families were sitting down to dinner.

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"We just heard people screaming that the roof was off, get out, get out," resident Larhonda Neal said.

Village officials said one resident, a young woman, was taken to the hospital after she was hit by falling debris, but is expected to be OK.

"It was a lady on the third floor screaming; she needed help, and the roof caved in on her," resident Ivoryana Neal said.

Isaiah Griffith, a second-floor resident, heard the woman's screams and ran to the third floor to help. When he arrived at her unit, he saw electrical sparks.

"It looked like, I can't explain, like it was spreading all around," he said. "It was terrifying; it was terrifying."

The Red Cross is staged at the Bellwood Village Hall to help any residents find a place to stay.

WATCH | Supercell storm downs trees in Roselle

A supercell thunderstorm downed several large trees in Roselle as it barrelled through the Chicago area Monday evening.

Pablo Casda owns six units in a Bellwood condo building and said many of his tenants have probably lost everything. He's paying for two nights of hotel stays while things get sorted out.

"The third floor, the whole roof is gone, totally damaged," Casda said. "We need to be kind to one another."

Residents described what they heard as that roof was torn off, saying "we heard a whistling sound," "I heard the thunderclap; it was like, boom," "then we heard a loud pop, like, boom, like something crashed."

"I thought our ceiling was was going to cave in, as much water was coming in," Ivoryana Neal said. "It could have been worse, so I just have to thank God."

Mayor Andre Harvey said no one was seriously hurt. At daylight, residents of the multi-unit building hoped to salvage what belongings they could as building inspectors deemed the structure uninhabitable.

"So, once we make sure it's structurally sound, we will probably escort residents in to get their belongings so they can move on to other places to stay," he said.

Resident Sheila Lilly said she was at work when her 18-year-old son called her, hysterical.

"It just disbelief, like, you can see the sky out of my living room and my bedroom," resident Sheila Lilly said. "He was like, 'the ceiling, the ceiling fell.' I'm like, 'well, what do you mean the ceiling fell?' So, he FaceTime to me and showed me, and I just left work and came here immediately."

The mayor said it could take months to fix the building's roof.

Village Hall is doubling as a cooling center for those who need it, too.

Miguel Martinez's Bellwood home was struck by a huge tree that snapped in half and carved out a hole in the roof, while his family was in the living room.

"It could have been worse. I mean, just looking, especially because we were all in the living room, so it could've been really bad," he said.

Harvey said the entire village has some kind of tree damage.

"So our Street Department and Public Works Department has been out all night long clearing streets; like I said, we have residents that were actually helping each other clear the streets," Harvey said.

In the northwest suburbs, one of the oldest trees in Roselle gave way to the sudden strong winds. A favorable direction spared the village mayor's own home.

"I was at Village Hall, got a lot of calls from my wife," Mayor David Pileski said. "She was in our basement with our 1-year-old. We're just grateful it fell away from the house."

The spontaneous clean-up crew wandered up as soon as it was safe to step outside.

"I live two houses down; that's what neighbors do," Joe Kightlinger said. "Roselle, they take care of each other.

Another Roselle family's home was also struck by tornado-like conditions.

"We got part of the tree on the roof... knocked down the chimney... there's holes in the siding," Tom Gilelczynski said of the home his family has lived in for 20 years.

He also said a shed and furniture he had in the backyard is gone.

"I could see like the winds looked back so that's when my mom said, 'lets go downstairs' and when we were walking downstairs, we saw the tree hit," said Julia Gilelczynski.

On Chicago's North Side, the storm damaged a Toyota dealership in Lincoln Park. No one was reported injured.

Travelers took cover as 84 mph winds whipped outside O'Hare International Airport and all arriving and departing flights ground to a halt. Throngs of people looking for shelter scrambled to the airport's lowest level.

And with good reason. The high winds flipped over several planes at nearby Schaumburg Regional Airport. And a single lightning strike ignited a fire at a north suburban Northbrook home.

Several Metra lines temporarily suspended service as the storm blew through.

On Tuesday morning, BNSF train numbers 1224, 1226, 1221 and 1254 would not operate due to lingering effects of Monday night's storm.

There was debris on the tracks after the storm, a Metra spokesman said, and the tracks needed to be inspected, which led to long delays and hours for conductors.

Workers were also trying to get one side of the Bellwood Metra stop operational after serious flooding.

Even Brookfield Zoo was affected by the storm: It will not open until 1 p.m. Tuesday, as workers clean up debris, including downed trees.

In a statement, the zoo said its grounds sustained significant damage, and parts of the venue might not be open Tuesday.

A Roselle substation was also damaged.

ComEd said more than 13,000 remained without power Tuesday afternoon, down from a height of 125,000. ComEd said workers are making the rounds, mostly in the north and northwest suburbs and the city, trying to restore electricity and order before sweltering temperatures make the task unbearable.

Still, Tuesday night was rough for Broadview residents.

"It's pretty severe. A lot of power lines are down. Polls over here, utility poles over here were set on fire they they burned," said Bruno Carter, a Broadview resident. "No, no life was lost. You know, just just property damage. Which you know can be replaced better than human life can be replaced."

From Brookfield to Broadview, neighborhood streets were lined with downed branches.

"No air, its just been bad. Very uncomfortable, it's just horrible," said Broadview resident LaSharon Williams.

A couple ABC7 spoke with in Broadview said that they stayed at their daughter's home last night because it was too unbearable to stay at their own home and they plan on doing that again Tuesday and Wednesday nights if they have to.

WATCH | ABC7 AccuWeather Forecast

Many traffic signals were still out and approximately 400 Elmhurst residents were without power as of Tuesday morning, the city's communications manager said. The city said crews cannot remove trees that are tangled in power lines until ComEd has de-energized the power circuit. Any resident who sees trees tangled in power lines or exposed power lines should dial 911 and stay away from the area.

Chicagoans who need to report a power outage or a downed power line should contact ComEd at 800-334-7661.

WATCH: ComEd trying to restore power after storm, before heat wave

ComEd gave an update on Chicago-area power outages.

For large, fallen limbs or downed trees that are blocking the public way, residents should call 311 and report a "Tree Emergency." Chicagoans should visit to report water in their basement, standing water on their street, tree debris and out traffic lights. Residents are also encouraged to download the CHI 311 app in the App Store or Google Play to make 311 reports.

As the warm front that set off the storm lifts north, temperatures will soar well into the 90s on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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