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One hurt in area storms bringing hail, two reported tornadoes

Seagulls hover close by anticipatisome easy food Montrose Harbor Sunday afternoon. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Seagulls hover close by in anticipation of some easy food at Montrose Harbor Sunday afternoon. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 23, 2011 7:38AM



At least one person was hurt in the severe storms that ripped through portions of the Chicago area Sunday. Hail fell in several suburbs, while a possible tornado in northwest Indiana destroyed a building and toppled power lines.

A tornado watch previously issued for all of northeastern Illinois and five counties in Indiana expired at midnight, according to the National Weather Service. Survey teams will be out Monday to assess some of the area’s damage, NWS Meteorologist Ben Deubelveiss said.

“We got a lot of severe weather yesterday, so they’ll have a lot of traveling to do,” Deubelveiss said.

A person hurt when a tree fell onto a house in far northwest Rockford was the only reported Chicago-area injury from the storm, he said.

Surveyors will also determine whether damage from two reported possible tornadoes was caused by straight-line or tornadic winds, Deubelveiss said.

One reportedly touched down about one-quarter mile north of Rensselaer along Route 231 in northwest Indiana, according to the weather service website. A farm bureau office was reportedly destroyed and two other buildings were damaged, one of which caught fire. The storm also felled many area power lines, the website said.

Another possible tornado hit a Roscoe fire station in Winnebago County, Ill., damaging the building and sending firefighters running for cover after they saw a funnel cloud, Deubelveiss said.

Closer to Chicago, lightning damaged a “beautiful home” in south suburban Beecher in a storm producing strong winds and quarter-sized hail.

Lightning struck the center of the two-story home at 30416 S. Ashland Ave. in Beecher and caused at least $300,000 damage, Beecher Fire Chief Dave Lagesse said. Nobody was injured.

In Arlington Heights and Olympia Fields, dime-sized hail was reported between 3 and 4 p.m., the weather service said. Spotters also reported hail in Lombard, Villa Park, Morton Grove, North Chicago, Hammond, Ind., and Waukegan during that time.

Half- to three-quarter-inch hailstones reportedly fell for about eight minutes at 59th and Halsted on the city’s South Side, while pea-sized hail was falling near Cumberland and Irving Park roads on the Northwest Side, the website said.

More severe weather may be on tap for tomorrow, according to the weather service. The metro area will see highs around 80 and winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, according to the website.

Forecasters are predicting a “slight chance” of more severe weather for eastern Will County and the far southeastern tip of Cook County, as well as portions of northwest Indiana, but that forecast could change, Deubelveiss said.

The city’s Department of Aviation said airlines are reporting weather-related delays of 60 to 90 minutes at O’Hare Airport and more than 150 cancellations. At Midway Airport, there are “minor” delays and no cancellations.



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