Ferocious storms packing winds of more than 80 miles per hour downed trees in numerous communities and tore the roof off a suburban apartment building as they ripped through Monday evening.
Winds blew over numerous trees, made travel nearly impossible for a time for tens of thousands and resulted in power outages affecting around 70,000 ComEd customers.
The storm was especially frightening for the tenants of a three-story apartment building at 24th Avenue and Washington Boulevard in Bellwood.
Multiple residents say they initially heard hail and high winds, then seconds later, they noticed part of the roof had peeled away. Tenants scrambled to exit the building as the fire department arrived to provide help.
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At least 18 families were displaced, according to Andrew Harvey, mayor of Bellwood. One resident was struck by debris, but was expected to be okay.
More damage occurred down the street, where some discovered their cars had been struck by the storm.
"I'm glad no one was sitting in it," said Naeesha Ellis, one resident whose car was damaged.
As the storms rolled through, operations were put on pause at O'Hare International Airport. Thousands of travelers across the sprawling airport were told to seek shelter as a precaution. Hundreds huddled below the famous neon-lit walkway that connects to gates in Terminal 1. When the sky cleared, restrictions were gradually lifted by the Federal Aviation Administration.