Storms Usher in Cooler Air

After turning up the heat in Chicago on Tuesday, Mother Nature opened the spigot during a summer storm packed with high winds and a dazzling lightning show.

But all of that activity ushered in some cooler air, setting up for a far more comfortable Wednesday.

The storm moved into the Chicago area about 9:30 p.m., knocking out power to about 65,000 Commonwealth Edison customers. The hardest hit area was the north suburbs, where about 29,000 customers lost power, said ComEd spokesman Bennie Curry.

In Chicago, about 12,000 customers were without power, Curry said. The storm knocked out power to about 14,000 customers in the south suburbs and 9,500 in the western suburbs.

In Naperville, lightning is blamed for starting a 10:05 p.m. fire at a house at 1106 Augustana Dr. in the western suburb, according to a release from the Naperville Fire Department.

The fire was controlled in about 15 minutes, but caused more than $150,000 damage and left the home uninhabitable, the release said. Nobody was injured.

Earlier, high winds and downed trees delayed some Metra trains for more than two hours.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said Metra trains on the Union Pacific North and Northwest lines were delayed from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. because of high winds and downed trees on the tracks.

"We are playing catch-up now, but the lines are moving," Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said at about 9 p.m.

In advance of Tuesday's storms, ComEd said it proactively sent out 400 crews. Additional staffers are also manning the utility's call center.

"This continues to be an extremely tough summer of storm activity," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd's president and chief operating officer, in a written statement. "We are taking every precaution possible to ensure that we have adequate resources available to address our latest bought with Mother Nature’s might. Since June 1, our electric system has incurred more than 2.1 million storm-related customer interruptions, which is a record for summer storm activity -- and summer is not yet over."

Temperatures on Tuesday reached into the mid-90s with heat index readings between 100 and 108.

It all comes after a July that was a record-setter in terms of temperatures and precipitation.

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