Chicago weather: High winds down large tree in Des Plaines, kick up dust in western counties

Tornado Watch in effect for parts of Wisconsin until 2 a.m.

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team, Jessica D'Onofrio, and Liz Nagy WLS logo
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Storms kick up high winds, large amounts of dust in western counties
Dust blowing from windy conditions ahead of storms moving into the Chicago area caused low visibility in the far west suburbs.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Storms brought high winds to parts of the Chicago area on Tuesday evening, and there's still a possibility of showers and storms west of the city overnight.

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The winds brought down a large tree in north suburban Des Plaines and kicked up large amounts of dust in some of the area's western counties. ComEd said 12,380 customers were without power as of 10:30 p.m.

The same system brought deadly tornadoes to parts of Iowa.

READ MORE: Iowa tornadoes kill 1, cause major damage in Greenfield, south of Des Moines, amid severe storms

Iowa tornadoes south of Des Moines killed 1 person and caused major damage in Adams County, amid a severe weather outbreak.

A Tornado Watch is in effect for Walworth, Kenosha and Racine counties until 2 a.m. Wednesday.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is in effect for Walworth and Racine county until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Storm Prediction Center had the Chicago area under a Level 3 risk for severe weather Tuesday night. Some parts of western Illinois near the Iowa border were under a Level 4 risk for severe weather with a significant tornado threat.

The Chicago area's severe weather threat started to diminish later Tuesday evening, but showers and storms are still possible in some areas overnight into Wednesday morning.

ABC7 Chicago Meteorologist Cheryl Scott said at about 10 p.m., a line of showers and storms was moving out of Iowa and developing in western Illinois.

That system will continue to move northeast toward areas west of the city. Those storms are expected to weaken in the early Wednesday morning hours as they move east.

Storms kick up high winds, large amounts of dust in western counties

And deep into western Illinois farmland in DeKalb County near Sycamore, spring storms stirred up a uniquely agricultural kind of damage on Tuesday evening.

"The wind is blowing, and the ground has been freshly tilled, so that's what's been causing the dust," said Brian Koehnke.

A thick cloud of dust is freshly-tilled topsoil whipped into a wall of dense dirt. With the force of high winds from the west, it periodically blew in masse across acres of perfectly-lined corn.

"You're losing topsoil, so it's bad," Koehnke said. "It's very unusual for it to happen."

Even in farm country, this sort of storm-brewed dust cloud is not entirely common. Silos are shrouded in soil that looked more like smog.

The high winds came with not a single drop of rain or flash of lighting.

Drivers slowed along State Road with the caution of fog-like visibility, and barn doors flapped with each gust, but all appeared to stand sturdy against a spring storm that weakened as it went.

Dust storm forces section of Interstate 55 to shut down

A dust storm forced I-55 to completely shut down at mile marker 144 near the town of McLean on Tuesday.

Downstate, a dust storm forced a section of Interstate 55 to completely shut down earlier Tuesday.

It happened at mile marker 144 near the town of McLean. That's southwest of Bloomington.

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The Illinois State Police said visibility was near zero along that stretch of road. The road is closed in both directions.

There are detours in place, but expect delays if you are heading that way.

Last May, eight people died after a crash on I-55 during a dust storm.

ISP said another dust storm was later located on Interstate 74 at milepost 152 on Tuesday. I-74 has been shut down from milepost 149 to milepost 160.

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