Severe weather that battered Iowa early Monday is heading toward the Chicago area, spawning a slew of watches and warnings as dangerous winds and torrential downpours threaten the region.
Here are the latest updates from the NBC 5 Storm Team:
More Than 500,000 ComEd Customers Without Power Monday Night After Storms
More than 500,000 Chicago area customers remain without power hours after a series of powerful thunderstorms roared through the region.
According to ComEd, 502,748 customers in the NBC 5 viewing area are in the dark as of 8:55 p.m., with crews working to restore service after thunderstorms packing wind gusts in excess of 75 miles per hour hammered the city and surrounding suburbs.
Nearly a quarter million of those customers are in Cook County alone.
National Weather Service Investigating Reports of Brief Tornado in Rogers Park
The National Weather Service is investigating reports of a possible tornado in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood on Monday afternoon.
According to the service, video shared via social media showed what may have been a brief tornado in the neighborhood at approximately 4 p.m. Monday.
The report was one of several from around the Chicago area as a series of powerful thunderstorms rumbled through the region. Tornado warnings were issued in numerous counties, including in northeastern DuPage and Cook counties during the outbreak of severe weather.
Metra Trains Experiencing Extensive Delays Due to Severe Weather
Commuters using several Metra lines could experience significant delays or cancellations on Monday, as high winds and severe weather are wreaking havoc on the agency’s schedules.
According to the latest update from the agency, inbound and outbound trains on the Metra Electric Line are only moving intermittently at this time due to high winds and a series of weather warnings that have been issued across the region.
Trains had been halted completely for nearly an hour due to gusty winds, with wind speeds topping 70 miles per hour in many locations across the agency’s service corridor.
More Than 180,000 ComEd Customers Without Power in Cook County
More than 180,000 customers in Cook County are without power after powerful thunderstorms moved through the area on Monday.
According to ComEd, 186,004 customers are without power in the area, with more than 1,400 outages reported.
Things are even worse in Will County, with 80,884 customers without power. That is nearly 32% of the customers that the utility services in that county, according to figures released Monday.
Another 50,000 customers are currently without power in DuPage County after the storms, packing wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour in some locations, struck the region.
Tornado Warnings Canceled, but High Wind Warning Remains in Effect
The last remaining tornado warning for Lake County was canceled just after 4:30 p.m., but several watches and warnings do remain in effect in the area.
A high wind warning remains in effect for all of northern Illinois and parts of northwest Indiana until 7 p.m., as wind gusts are expected to continue through the early evening hours.
A severe thunderstorm warning also remains in effect for Kankakee County in Illinois, along with Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana until 5:30 p.m.
Those storms are packing wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour, and are generating quarter-sized hail, according to current forecast estimates.
A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for most of northeastern Illinois and all of northwest Indiana until 7 p.m.
Tens of Thousands Without Power Across Area
According to ComEd, nearly 80,000 customers are without power as severe thunderstorms roll through the area Monday afternoon.
Most of those customers are located in Winnebago and Whiteside counties, which have reported nearly 21,000 and nearly 15,000 outages, respectively.
In LaSalle County, 9,775 customers are without power as of 4:15 p.m., while in DeKalb County 5,502 customers are impacted by the storms.
Here are the latest totals, per ComEd:
LaSalle County: 9,775 customers
DeKalb County: 5,784 customers
Kane County: 5,554 customers
McHenry County: 5,237 customers
Cook County: 2,973 customers
Kendall County: 2,253 customers
Lake County: 1,656 customers
Grundy County: 1,084 customers
Tornado Warnings Issued Across Chicago Area
A series of tornado warnings have been issued across northeastern Illinois, as powerful thunderstorms roll through the region.
One of the warnings will be in effect for northeastern DuPage County and northeastern Cook County, and will expire at 4:30 p.m.
Another warning has been issued for northern Lake County and northeastern McHenry County until 4:45 p.m.
The storms impacting Cook, DuPage and Lake counties are moving to the east at 35 miles per hour, with radar-indicated rotation. The storm was located near Lake Villa as of 4:17 p.m.
Storms located near Woodstock are moving east at 35 miles per hour, potentially causing significant damage in Lake and McHenry counties. Radar has indicated rotation in those storms as well.
A storm near Channel Lake in Wisconsin is moving to the east at 40 miles per hour, with radar-indicated rotation and torrential downpours reported. Wind speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour could potentially occur.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued for Chicago, Surrounding Counties
According to the National Weather Service, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for numerous counties in northeastern Illinois, including Cook County.
Lake, DuPage, Cook, Will and Kankakee counties are all included in the warning, which is set to expire at 4:15 p.m.
At approximately 3:31 p.m., the storm line was located just west of the area, with 80 miles per hour wind gusts and quarter-size hail possible with the storms.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued for Parts of NW Indiana
A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for northeastern Kankakee County, along with several counties in Northwest Indiana.
According to the National Weather Service, the warning also includes Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties in Indiana, along with Benton County.
The warning will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Central time.
Tornado Warning Issued for Will, DuPage Counties
A new tornado warning has been issued for parts of DuPage and Will counties, according to the National Weather Service.
According to the warning, northwestern Will County and all of DuPage County are impacted by the warning, which will remain in effect until 4 p.m.
At 3:26 p.m., severe thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes were located on a line extending from St. Charles to North Aurora, moving east at 60 miles per hour.
NWS Says ‘Tornado Debris Signature’ Located Near Lisbon
According to the National Weather Service, radar is indicating a “tornado debris signature” near Lisbon, located along the county line between Kendall and Grundy counties.
A tornado warning remains in effect for that area until 3:45 p.m., but until now no confirmed touchdowns had been reported by the NWS.
Tornado Warnings Issued for Numerous Illinois Counties as Storms March Across Region
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for parts of Kendall and Kane Counties, along with northeastern LaSalle County and southeastern DeKalb counties until 3:45 p.m.
Radar-indicated rotation has been spotted by the weather service, with wind speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour in some locations.
ComEd Prepared for Potential Power Outages, Storm Damage to Utility Poles and Power Lines
ComEd is warning customers that power outages could potentially occur Monday as severe thunderstorms roar through the Chicago area.
With wind gusts in excess of 70 miles per hour, torrential downpours and frequent lightning, the utility says that power could be knocked out by the storms, but that crews are monitoring the storms and preparing to deploy in the event of outages.
“This could be a significant storm with hurricane force winds. ComEd is ready to meet the needs of our customers,” said Terry Donnelly, president and COO of ComEd. “We are taking proper precautions to work safely and to make sure we can restore affected customers quickly.”
“Treat It Like a Tornado Warning:” NWS Urges Residents to Seek Shelter Immediately Ahead of Storms
With severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings popping up across the region, the National Weather Service has a simple message for area residents:
“Treat it like a tornado warning,” the service said.
The storms rolling through the area have generated winds in excess of 100 miles per hour in Iowa, and are still generating wind gusts between 80 and 90 miles per hour in some Illinois locations.
Even if wind gusts don’t get that high, sustained winds of up to 70 miles per hour are also possible, with those wind speeds expected to stick around for long stretches of time during the storms.
Winds of that speed can cause significant tree and vehicle damage, along with some structural damage, according to the weather service.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning Issued for Chicago, Surrounding Areas
A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for Lake, DuPage, Cook, Will and Kankakee counties in northeastern Illinois until 3:45 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour and quarter-size hail are possible with the storms. The storms, located on a line from Rockford to Mendota, are moving to the east at 75 miles per hour.
Wind damage has been reported across western and north central Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.
Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, Naperville, Elgin, Waukegan and Cicero are all potentially impacted by the storms.
Tornado Warning Issued for Boone, Winnebago Counties
A tornado warning has been issued for Winnebago and Boone counties in northern Illinois until 3:45 p.m.
According to the National Weather Service, a storm located near Rockford is moving east at 25 mph, and is exhibiting radar-indicated rotation.
The tornado could potentially be rain-wrapped if it touches down, meaning that residents should immediately seek shelter and shouldn’t wait until they see a tornado to move to a lower level in their homes.
Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles will occur, and tree damage is likely with the storms.
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings Issued for Multiple Counties
Multiple severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued across the area, according to the National Weather Service.
One warning, covering McHenry, Kane, Kendall, and Grundy counties will expire at 4 p.m., with a warning for Livingston County lasting until 3:45 p.m., according to NWS.
Those storms are rapidly moving to the east-northeast at 70 mph, and are packing wind gusts in excess of that speed. Quarter-size hail and frequent lightning are also possible with these storms.
Businesses Urged to Bring Tents, Other Items Indoors as Dangerous Winds Approach
With severe thunderstorms rapidly approaching the Chicago area, restaurants and businesses with outdoor service are advised to bring in tents, tables and other items that could potentially be destroyed or damaged by dangerous winds.
With coronavirus restrictions still in place in many areas, most restaurants still have outdoor seating areas with overhead canopies and tents. The National Weather Service is advising business owners to bring such items inside, with wind gusts in excess of 80 miles per hour possible Monday afternoon.