At least 11 Chicago area tornado touchdowns confirmed, including at O'Hare, as residents clean up

Storm damage reported in Hodgkins, Indian Head Park, Countryside and Elgin

ByABC7 Eyewitness News Team Coverage WLS logo
Friday, July 14, 2023
The Chicago area is cleaning up after at least 11 tornadoes touched down in the suburbs and city, including at Chicago O'Hare Airport.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- At least 11 tornadoes touched down in parts of the Chicago area Wednesday, even as another storm cell prompted a couple brief tornado warnings in the far northwest suburbs Thursday night.

The National Weather Service has confirmed tornadoes touched down in Cicero, Huntley, Elgin, Barrington, Long Grove, Des Plaines, Glendale Heights, Streamwood and at O'Hare International Airport.

The latest tornadoes confirmed Thursday night were an EF-0 that traveled from Carol Stream to Glendale Heights, an EF-0 from Itasca to O'Hare Airport, an EF-0 from O'Hare Airport to the southeast side of Des Plaines, and an EF-0 in Streamwood.

The NWS said the Elgin tornado was an EF-1 with maximum wind speed of 100 mph and a track roughly started east of Rt. 47 and ended near the railroad tracks west of Villa Olivia Golf Course.

A second tornado in Elgin, an EF-0, began close to McDonald Road and ended along Hopps Road.

A third tornado, an EF-1, began near Burr Ridge and continued northeast across southwestern Cook County to near Stickney, the NWS said. The tornado reached winds near 110 mph and traveled just over 9 miles.

In Huntley, the NWS confirmed an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of 90 miles per hour. In Barrington and Long Grove EF-0 tornadoes touched down with maximum winds of 80 miles per hour and 70 miles per hour respectively.

National Weather Service teams remain in the area to identify any further tornado touchdowns.

According to NIU professor Victor Gensini, Illinois was already leading the country in number of tornadoes so far this year with 100.

In the Catatoga subdivision in West Elgin, massive, old oak trees are down across the neighborhood after a powerful storm and tornado swept through the area.

An EF-1 and an EF-0 tornado touched down in Elgin Wednesday. Thursday residents were cleaning up the damage.

Neighbors are in the thick of cleaning up right now. Fortunately, there aren't any reports of injuries or serious structural damage, though there are some trees down on cars and there is damage to roofs.

One neighbor Margo Rodriguez said she hunkered in the basement and then her ears started popping.

"I walked in our backyard and I saw one little tree down and I was like, 'Oh that's nothing,'" Rodriguez said. "Then came out our front door and saw just devastation. It looked like a bomb had gone off."

ABC7's Mark Rivera shared an emotional moment with motel owner Rajan Patel, who was impacted by Chicago area storms.

Rodriguez said neighbors are helping neighbors clean up right now.

She said people she hasn't spoken to in years are reaching out to check up on her, which makes the situation just a little bit more manageable.

In suburban Countryside, all signs point to the work of a tornado, which tore through a neighborhood, leaving widespread damage to trees and homes in its wake.

While it looks a lot worse than it is, most of the damage was limited to an area just south of Joliet Road, no one was injured and only four homes were declared uninhabitable.

"It's devastating," Maureen Lovelace said. "It's bad."

Derek Molis's garage was completely flattened and his patio set is now under a tree, but he marveled that his house was still intact.

"You could feel the house shaking to the point where I'm downstairs in the basement and I'm like, is my house going to be lifted off and be gone?" he said.

The roof of Marion Novak's home caved in as high winds struck at around 6:15 p.m. She was standing in her living room as tornado sirens started to wail.

"I just was looking out that window and saw things flying and I thought, 'Oh please stop and then ... and I'm glad I didn't go down to the basement because I would have got hit by something ,probably," Novak said.

Thursday morning she came back to gather some of her belongings and marvel at the damage. The focus is on cleaning up.

Wood chippers and chainsaws are buzzing as crews work to clear out the debris.

Jason Lovelace and his family are in the thick of it.

"We had a lot of trees down and some damage to the side of the house, a couple broken windows and now we're just trying to clean up," he said.

Hundred-year-old trees were ripped straight out of the ground, and powers lines were damaged, but by Thursday afternoon the trees were being cut up and cleared out and electricity was being restored. So far only four homes have been deemed uninhabitable, and all power is expected to be restored by the end of the day.

But amidst it all is a great sense of a relief that no one was injured, an incredible thing when you hear some of the stories from last night.

"We heard this horrible noise pounding on the front door like a train and Mary opened the door. I've never heard anything like it. And then our neighbor next door was standing there with her baby. She has no basement," said Eileen Baehrend.

Chopper 7HD flies above areas damaged by a tornado in the western suburbs.

The storm left its mark, including totaling a garage after a giant fell on top of it. Many homes had siding which peeled off and there are broken windows everywhere.

Meanwhile, utility crews have been working all night to manage downed power lines. Greg Timpe is just trying to find the small stuff.

"The mailbox is gone somewhere," he said. "I'm expecting an issue of Rolling Stone, so I'm pretty excited about that."

As tornadoes touched down across Illinois, a rainbow was in the sky next to a funnel cloud in Kane County.

Countryside police said four homes were left uninhabitable. Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries.

In Indian Head Park, four townhomes in the Chestnut on the Green subdivision have been deemed uninhabitable by a building inspector, the town's police chief said.

A number of other homes south of I-55 had broken windows, siding and damaged shingles.

Chopper 7HD captured aerials of a townhouse in Indian Head Park with a back wall ripped away, exposing other parts of the home. Fortunately, no injuries were reported there.

Large tree limbs toppled onto cars at an apartment complex and near homes. Residents said there hasn't been a storm like this nearby in a long time.

"The sound started real loud and the wind was really bad and you could see everything was falling over," Indian Head Park resident Gary Malone said. "It's the worst I've ever seen and I've been here about 40 years.

In McCook, a truck driver was injured after their truck was blown over and rolled into a guard rail. He was transported to LaGrange Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.