Chicago weather: Strong storms bring high winds, frequent lightning to Chicago area

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Thursday, May 18, 2017
Severe storms move east through Chicago area
Strong storms with a lot of lightning are moving through the Chicago area at around 40 miles per hour.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Storms moved through the Chicago area Wednesday night, bringing heavy rains, high winds, and frequent lightning as they raced eastward toward Lake Michigan.

A Tornado Watch was in effect until 1 a.m. for Kendall and La Salle counties. ABC7 meteorologists Larry Mowry said that based on the strength of the storm, which weakened as it moved, the chances of a tornado forming that late were relatively low.

There were reports of storm damage including downed trees and power lines in Boone County, and reports of people stuck in their cars due to those downed trees and power lines. No injuries have been reported.

Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour have also been recorded in the western suburbs. The storms are featuring heavy, frequent lightning and high winds. They are expected to decrease in intensity as they move towards Lake Michigan.

A Tornado watch has been issued for counties west of Chicago until 11 p.m., and storms are expected to move through the area Wednesday night.

In Evanston, police said high winds downed a tree in the 300-block of Davis.

Some traffic lights were out in Evanston, and some power lines were down as well. Com Ed reported scattered outages as of 10 p.m. and said they beefed up staffing anticipating problems from winds.

Crews in Evanston have cordoned off the street around the downed tree and will begin to cut it up and remove it in the morning.

Leon, a truck driver heading back to the Chicago area from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., near the Iowa border, with his son, said he is stuck on I-80 as of 7:30 p.m. after they hit heavy rain and a "dust bowl." He said drivers couldn't see and had to pull off the road. Then Illinois State Police pulled all drivers to the side of the road as emergency vehicles traveled by as well as tow trucks.

There are reports of semis blown off the road and jackknifed on I-80 but state police have not confirmed them. Leon and his son are currently stuck on the road.

There was a ground stop at O'Hare International Airport due to wind. The ground stop was lifted as of 5:40 p.m., though FAA officials said there are still delays on inbound flights to O'Hare and flight delays are expected to grow during the evening hours.

As of 9 p.m. there were delays averaging 46 minutes at O'Hare, and 76 cancellations. Midway reported delays of less than 15 minutes and no cancellations.