CHICAGO (WLS) -- At least one person was injured Wednesday afternoon as severe storms raced through the Chicago area, leaving a trail of damage in their wake.
A 13-year-old girl was critically injured by a lightning strike near Garfield Park on Chicago's West Side, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
Wind gusts of between 55 and 65 mph were widely reported in the south suburbs and northwest Indiana, with a 70 mph gust reported in New Lenox. There were reports of semi-trucks being blown over on I-80 at I-355 in Will County.
At the height of the storm, ComEd said over 50,000 customers were without power. As of 4:55 p.m., there were 8,500 customers without power.
Several trees were knocked down in the Avondale neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side. Chopper7 spotted trees that fell on cars parked along Lawndale Avenue just north of Belmont.
A large tree came crashing down on a home on Albany Avenue, but luckily, no one inside was injured.
"I was taking a nap and my kids came and said, 'Mom, the house shook, did you hear that?" resident Ellen Aceves said. "And I'm like, 'What?" and they're like, "The tree fell on the house!" I got up and sure enough, the tree was on the house."
Also on the Northwest Side, large trees took down power lines as they fell in the 2600-block of W. Wilson Avenue in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood.
RELATED | ABC7 AccuWeather Forecast
The severe storms developed rapidly over the Chicago area and move east as a cold front slammed into hot, humid air Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, extremely high humidity and temperatures in the 80s combined to send heat indices soaring over 100 degrees.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch remains in effect for the far south suburbs and northwest Indiana until 8 p.m.
Also, a Heat Advisory is in effect for Will, Ford Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, and southern Cook counties in Illinois as well as Benton, Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana until 7 p.m.
The cold front will bring cooler and drier conditions for Thursday, but the heat will build back for the weekend.
WATCH | Doctor offers tips to stay safe in high heat, humidity
WATCH | ABC7 AccuWeather Forecast
Officials warn that the hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses, which could develop in less than 30 minutes after strenuous outdoor activity.
Residents are advised to take extra precautions, including drinking plenty of fluids, staying in air-conditioned areas and staying out of the sun. If possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or in the evenings if you work or will be spending time outside. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible as well.
Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool or shaded location, officials said. A heat stroke is an emergency, and 911 should be called.
Residents in need of assistance during the extreme heat should call 311. Residents can also request a wellbeing check by downloading the CHI311 app, visiting 311.chicago.gov or calling 311.
They also recommend checking up on relatives and neighbors.
The city of Chicago operates cooling areas located at the city's six community service centers. The cooling areas operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Visitors are required to wear a face covering while in the cooling areas. DFSS will provide free face coverings for guests who do not have one and want to utilize the cooling areas.
They're located at:
- Englewood Center - 1140 W. 79th St.
- Garfield Center - 10 S. Kedzie Ave.
- King Center - 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
- North Area Center - 845 W. Wilson Ave.
- South Chicago Center - 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
- Trina Davila Center - 4312 W. North Ave.
During hours of operation, residents can also find relief in one of the city's more than 75 Chicago Public Library locations and more than 31 Chicago Park District fieldhouses as well as 176 splash pads.
Officials also remind people to never leave young children or pets unattended in vehicles under any circumstance.