Chicago Weather: Downed trees, damaged homes and cars, ComEd outages after strong storms

ComEd reports over 176,000 customers without power

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Downed trees, power lines in NW suburbs after storms
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A line of storms downed trees, cut power and left a trail of damage in Crystal Lake Tuesday night.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ComEd outages are affecting over 176,000 customers after severe storms raced through the Chicago area for the second day in a row.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are in effect for Jasper, Newton, Lake and Porter counties in Indiana until 10:45 p.m.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect for Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall, Lake and Will counties until 10 p.m.; and in Kankakee County and Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana until 2 a.m.

The line of storms spanned from the north to south suburbs, and left damage in its wake across the area.

In Crystal Lake, streets were littered with tree damage, and many branches ended up on houses leaving neighbors shaken.

"Just came out of the middle of nowhere," said Matt Till. "Six-thirty, family, we're finishing up with dinner, and the sky gets real dark, you hear a little bit of thunder, and the next thing you know it, the winds hit."

Till and his family hunkered down in a bathroom, as did their neighbor, who wasn't quite sure her house was going to make it.

"I wasn't sure if we were living through a tornado, a microburst or what," Till said.

There was also widespread tree damage in Elgin, leaving a mess on block after block. The scene was echoed all across the northwest suburbs.

A tree fell on an 80-year-old woman's house in West Ridge Tuesday evening.

And it wasn't any better in the city of Chicago. In the 6500-block of North Rockwell in the city's West Ridge neighborhood, the street is impassible after a big tree came down onto several cars, one of which was badly damaged. The owner said he heard a large crack and came out to look at what happened. He was not injured.

One block west, a tree fell on the house of an 80-year-old woman, who was inside at the time. Thankfully, she was not injured.

In Westchester, surveillance video caught the high winds sweeping away a shed, right out of a home's backyard.

The fast-moving storms brought down several large trees near Pingree Road and Route 31 in the Crystal Lake area.

SEE ALSO | Multiple tornado touchdowns reported in DeKalb, Kane counties

Highs rose into the 90s Tuesday, though heat indices across the area made it feel as hot as 110 degrees. While Tuesday's high isn't necessarily the hottest temperature of the year so far, Schwarz said it may be the highest heat index readings so far this year.

The National Weather Service warned that the hot and humid conditions could lead to an increased risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The weather agency advised people to limit strenuous outdoor activities during the warmest part of the day.

"The best way to protect yourself against the heat is to drink plenty of water and stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible," said Dr. Jennifer Seo, chief medical officer at the Chicago Dept. of Public Health.

Cooling centers and splash pads opened in the city for residents to find relief from the extreme heat.

Chicago Cooling Centers

Open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Visitors are required to wear a face covering while in the cooling areas.

  • Englewood Center - 1140 W. 79th Street
  • Garfield Center - 10 S. Kedzie Ave.
  • King Center - 4314 S. Cottage Grove
  • North Area Center - 845 W. Wilson Ave.
  • South Chicago Center - 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
  • Trina Davila Center - 4312 W. North Ave.
  • Residents can also find relief in one of the city's more than 75 Chicago Public Library locations and more than 30 Chicago Park District fieldhouses, as well as splash pads and pools at specific locations.

    High temperatures and humidity can pose a health and safety threat, officials said.

    "Check on your neighbors during extreme heat, especially if there are seniors, families with young people, people with special needs, or living alone," said Rich Guidice, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

    WATCH | Lincolnwood pool busy as heat indices top 100 degrees

    The hot and humid weather had many kids enjoying some summer fun at the Proesel Park Family Aquatic Center in Lincolnwood Tuesday.

    The steamy day had Lincolnwood Parks and Recreation Supt. Anna Koperski-Walsh on the lookout for heat-compromised bathers at the Proesel Park Family Aquatic Center.

    "People who may be looking like they are sleeping, but they will not be asleep. Individuals who have been sitting in the sun for a long period of time and haven't moved, and anyone looking like they're kind of ill at the moment," she explained.

    Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Heatstroke is more serious and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself.

    RELATED: 'Destructive' Severe Thunderstorm Warning to trigger wireless Emergency Alerts on mobile phones

    The telltale signs of heatstroke are:

  • An extremely high body temperature, such as 103 degrees or above
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • A throbbing headache and a pulse that is rapid and strong
  • Skin that is red, hot and dry
  • RELATED: Heat stroke vs heat exhaustion: What's the difference and what are the symptoms?

    If you see someone suffering from heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately and then try to move the person into a cool place and cool the person with water.

    Tips to Beat the Heat

  • Trina Davila Center - 4312 W. North Ave.
  • Stay inside, if you don't have air conditioning, keep shades drawn and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.
  • Keep electric lights off or turned down.
  • Minimize use of your oven and stove.
  • Wear loose, light, cotton clothing.
  • Take cool baths and showers.
  • Don't leave anyone (including pets) in a parked car, even for a few minutes.
  • It's important to check on family, friends, neighbors and especially our seniors...staying connected is key.