Chicago-area residents are left cleaning up after a series of severe thunderstorms blew through the region on Wednesday afternoon, with more showers and storms possible in the evening hours.
The storms, which were fueled by hot and humid conditions that sent heat indices soaring north of 100 degrees in some locations, caused a series of weather warnings throughout the region, packing wind gusts of nearly 70 miles per hour across the region.
According to ComEd, nearly 20,000 residents were left without power by the storms, which began to develop just after 1 p.m. ahead of a cold front that is pushing its way toward the area.
Those storms caused damaging winds throughout the region, including in Kankakee County where gusts in excess of 65 miles per hour were reported. There, branches of up to six inches in diameter were snapped off of trees, and power lines were reportedly knocked down near Court Street and Interstate 57 in Kankakee.
In Will County, numerous trees were uprooted by the ferocious winds, and several semi-trucks were blown over on Interstates 80 and 355, according to the National Weather Service.
Cook County also saw significant storm damage in the form of downed power lines and trees, but fire officials also reported that a teen girl was struck by lightning in Chicago near the Garfield Park Conservatory.
The girl was listed in critical condition, according to authorities.
As the cold front approaches, more showers and a few thunderstorms could potentially develop, although at this point it is not believed that the storms will become severe.
Rain will continue to stick around the area into Thursday morning, with showers wrapping around a low-pressure system that will be located over Lake Michigan. Winds will also turn out of the north, cooling temperatures off but also allowing large waves to develop on the lake, making for hazardous swimming conditions.
Once the low pressure system finally moves out of the area, the region should remain mostly dry through the tail end of the weekend, when another system could potentially park itself over the Midwest, leading to several chances of rain and cooler temperatures to boot.
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