Lightning is likely to blame for a massive fire at a Palatine resale shop that was full of furniture and clothing.
A pair of swift-moving storms carrying high winds and pelting rain knocked out windows at Chicago's 110-story Willis Tower on Friday.
The National Weather Service, in issuing a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for 39 counties earlier in the day, spoke matter-of-factly:
“While skies are sunny and its hot and humid now don’t be deceived. A fast moving line of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds is likely to race eastward across northern Illinois.”
When the first storm finally hit Chicago, papers and other trash could be seen flying over the tops of high-rise buildings of the downtown area below a very dark sky.
At the Willis Tower, windows on the 29th and 25th floor were blown. Others, on the 28th floor and the 12 floor, were cracked. Jackson Boulevard from Wacker Drive to Franklin Street were to remain closed to pedestrian traffic until crews could replace the windows.
Elsewhere in the city, first-responders treated a woman who was hit by glass near South Dearborn and West Washington streets, and another woman in Daley Plaza was injured when she was struck by a metal table.
In Humboldt Park, firefighters rescued a person who was trapped under a fallen tree. They were taken in serious to critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital.
Images from throughout the area showed snapped trees and limbs, some of them coming down on houses and cars. The city reported 1,080 "tree emergencies," where downed limbs were blocking roadways or resting on cars. Twenty-six city crews were out Friday night working to clear the foliage.
In Grayslake, a woman named Victoria said she couldn't open the door of her house near Route 83 and Highland Road after a tree roughly 100-feet tall crashed to the ground.
In Palatine, lightning may be to blame for igniting a massive fire at the WINGS Resale Shop, at 756 E. Northwest Highway. The building, full of furniture and clothing, was completely destroyed. No injuries were reported.
ComEd reported that nearly 300,000 customers were without power. More than 280 crews were out Friday night working to repair downed power lines, split poles and damaged equipment.
Winds of excess of 70 mph with gusts up to 80 mph were recorded as the storm moved from Iowa. The Des Moines Register reported that winds there knocked a semi-truck off the road.
Another possibly strong storm cell is headed toward Chicago from the west, prompting the National Weather Service to extend a severe thunderstorm watch until 12 a.m.
Chicago residents should call 311 to report damage.