Calm After the Storm

Downed trees, power lines left in wake of powerful storm

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The now-familiar sight of isolated flooding, downed trees and dangling power lines was left in the wake Wednesday of a powerful cluster of storms that brought the unfamiliar sound of tornado sirens to Chicago's downtown area.

Several tornado warnings that had been issued for counties in northern Illinios and Northwest Indiana have since expired, but flash flood warnings remain throughout the area.

The storms packed high winds and brought hail the size of golf balls and frequent cloud-to-ground lightning.  Power to at least 175,000 Commonwealth Edison customers was knocked out.

And trying to get anywhere was a hassle:  Metra trains were stopped in their tracks, air traffic at both airports was halted for about an hour and portions of the Stevenson and Eisenhower expressways were blocked by floodwaters.

The Office of Emergency Management & Communications activated its tornado sirens citywide at 6:15 p.m. and 6:25 p.m. for a period of three minutes due to a report of a funnel cloud in the south suburbs, spokesman Will Knight said.

The National Weather Service is investigating several reports of funnel clouds and a possible tornado touch down in Downers Grove.  Winds in excess of 80 mph were recorded, the weather service said.  As of 10 p.m., there has been no confirmation of a tornado touchdown.

Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation said 450 new "tree emergencies" were recorded Wednesday, bringing the total number of incidents to 5,812 since last Friday.  The area has been battled by several storms over the last week.

At times Wednesday, the sky was dark as night.  At other times, it was an eerie green.  But as the storms continued eastward, a beautiful sunset was visible in the west .  Rainbows appeared.

Thursday promises to be peaceful. 


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