Much of the damage done in Tuesday's summer solstice storm was done by two tornadoes, the National Weather Service confirmed.
Both tornadoes were rated EF1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
The first one, at 8:31 p.m. Tuesday, touched down near Sunnydale Park in Downers Grove. It continued on a path for about two miles before lifting near 55th and Main streets.
"All of a sudden, I start to see the tops of trees moving. I said to my wife, 'I think it's best we get downstairs," said Jim Pritchard.
Throughout the area, trees and power lines were brought down. In some cases, branches were stripped by high winds.
The track and field of Downers Grove South High School was hit hard, with goals and equipment strewn about.
One Blanchard Street resident, Steven Leonardo, calls his street "Tornado Alley" because of all the damage that typically happens during storms. He said he was shocked that the tornado sirens in his area didn't go off.
"Last night, there was nothing. So we were all caught off guard," he said.
The second tornado, at 8:48 p.m., touched down near We Go Trail and Golf Road in Mount Prospect. It continued for 2.3 miles before lifting near Kensington Road and North Pine Street.
"We heard what sounded like a train, and I just said to my husband, 'Listen, that sounds like a train.' And, of course, I looked out the window and it was raining real hard and I went, 'Train. Tornado!" recalled Barbara Dunn, who was watching the BP Crosstown Cup when the storm blew through.
"As fast it came, that's as fast as it was over," she added.
Even without tornadoes confirmed, other areas throughout Chicagoland were left cleaning up a mess left by Mother Nature.
While no animals were injured at the Brookfield Zoo, there was some damage to structures, such as Tropic World and the polar bear tank.
"We did have some extensive damage to the west side of Tropic World, siding on half of the exhibit was blown off," said zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen.
Despite the damage, the exibit remained open. Zoo crews were able to clear all away all of the tree branches that'd fallen on sidewalks in time for the attraction's 9:30 a.m. opening.
At Chicago Executive Airport, the roof of at least two buildings were partially ripped off, creating a big concern for pilots heading out of the Wheeling facility.
In Park Ridge, roughly 80 percent of the city was without power, officials said Wednesday afternoon. Lights at many intersections were out and while the streets were clear, a number of trees were down.
Lutheran General, the main hospital in the area, does have power and is operating normally. Main South High School was designated a help area for residents who need shelter or power for medical devices, cell phones and other electronics.
Power outages were the big concern throughout Chicagoland. At its worst, Commonwealth Edison said 433,000 customers were without power.
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