Storms Damage Homes, Evanston Church

Northwestern Lake and southern Cook counties were under a flash flood warning until 4 a.m.

Cleanup begins in the Chicago area after a pattern of severe weather passed through Thursday, dropping hail the size of marbles and flooding rain.

Northwestern Lake and southern Cook counties in Illinois were under a flash flood warning until 4 a.m. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings popped up earlier in the evening, and the ensuing storm cells produced heavy rain, high winds and lightning.

Residents in Evanston said lightning is to blame for the severe damage to St. James Armenian Church on Clark Street in the northern suburb. A bolt, witnesses said, struck the facade, causing hundreds of bricks to come crashing down. Two people had minor injuries, officials said.

As church leaders begin picking up the pieces Friday, residents in Niles must contend with flood cleanup. In one area of town, an entire street was covered in several feet of water. Residents had to wade through water and muck to clear the storm drains.

In Morton Grove, a tree limb crashed down onto the roof of a frightened homeowner.

"We were outside on the patio and we heard all this hail and the rain and then all of a sudden, 'Crack! Crack! Crack!' and I looked up and the tree is on my house," said Felix Pirola.

The wet pattern isn't over. There continues to be a day-to-day chance for rain until a dry pattern appears on the forecast in the middle of next week.

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[View the story "May 3, 2012 Severe Weather" on Storify]
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