For the second night in a row, severe thunderstorms pounded the Chicago area on Tuesday, and even though there were no tornadoes reported amid the outbreak, straight-line winds and heavy rains caused damage and flooding throughout the region, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
Forecasters had warned earlier Tuesday that strong winds would be the main threat from the storms, and that prediction came to pass, as wind gusts in excess of 60 miles per hour were reported throughout the area.
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, a gust of 58 miles per hour was recorded, while Midway hit 60 miles per hour on the nose. Several other locations, including Island Lake in Lake County, Harvard in McHenry County, and Roselle in Cook County also reported wind gusts of 60 miles per hour during the height of the storms, which prompted severe thunderstorm warnings in nearly every county in the NBC 5 viewing area.
Those strong winds did extensive damage to trees throughout the region, and left hundreds of thousands without power. At one point, ComEd reported that nearly 200,000 customers were without electricity, and as the 10 p.m. hour approached, nearly 180,000 were still in the dark, with most of those customers living in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.
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More than 20% of ComEd customers in McHenry County were without power as of 9:40 p.m.
The thunderstorms also caused severe issues on several CTA train lines in Chicago, with service interruptions reported due to debris on the tracks of the Red, Yellow, Brown and Purple lines at different points in the evening.
By 9:45 p.m., all train traffic has resumed, with the exception of the Yellow Line, with service halted between Howard and Dempster-Skokie.
On Chicago area expressways, standing water caused issues, including on the Stevenson Expressway, with traffic snarls reported in both directions for a period of time because of flooding.
Flooding was also reported on Western Avenue, and the roadway was shut in both directions between 15th Street and Ogden Avenue because of water on the street, which trapped multiple vehicles.
In several communities, including Elgin, McHenry and others, mass power outages caused traffic signal issues, and downed trees and branches were also reported on several roadways, including on Curran Road in McHenry.
Even with all of those challenges, the Chicago area could see even more weather-related issues on Wednesday. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for the second day in a row, with heat indices expected to top out around 105 degrees in some locations.
High temperatures will be slightly cooler, but the chance for showers and thunderstorms will once again exist in the afternoon-to-evening hours.