73,000 without power after fast-moving storm downs trees, halts rail lines
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE June 25, 2013 8:06AM
Updated: June 25, 2013 12:07PM
About 63,000 ComEd customers remained without power Tuesday after fierce storms swept through the Chicago area.
Roughly 650 crews worked overnight to restore power to some 237,000 ComEd customers.
As of 10:30 a.m., most of the outages were concentrated in the south suburbs, where some 45,000 were still without power, ComEd spokeswoman Ashley Dennison said.
About 9,500 Chicago residents were without power, as were 5,000 in the north and about 3,500 in the west, she added.
The strong winds Monday came from a fast-moving line of thunderstorms. At their most intense, the winds snapped trees, snarled road and rail commutes, and left about 300,000 ComEd customers without power.
“The forward speed of this [storm] at times was 65 mph,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Friedlein said. “That is very quick-moving.”
Fueled by the weather system’s own cool air and unstable atmospheric conditions caused by midday warmth, the storms roared in from Iowa and hit the Chicago area between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Wind gusts throughout the area reached 60-70 mph as the storm barreled through, forecasters said. Hardest hit were the central and southern portions of the Chicago area, including Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall and Will counties, as well as northwest Indiana.
The thunderstorms briefly brought Metra trains to a standstill during rush hour, and caused delays of up to an hour on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific West and Union Pacific North lines.
The CTA’s Red, Purple and Brown lines were also halted after the storm littered tracks with debris. Trains were running again with residual delays by about 8 p.m. Monday.
Numerous suburbs reported damage and blocked streets from downed trees, power lines and branches.
In Crete, a 76 mph wind gust snapped a 2-foot-diameter tree, which fell onto a two-story building, the weather service said.
Another 2-foot-diameter tree broke in the strong winds in west suburban Aurora, and is leaning against a house, officials there said.
Just after 5:30 p.m., the gusts uprooted a tree on Fox Bend Golf Course in southwest suburban Oswego, and left 6-inch-diameter branches scattered in the roadway near Charles Street and Chicago Avenue in Naperville.
In the city, the Chicago Fire Department was guarding “numerous” sites of downed power lines on the South Side, fire officials said.
On I-80 near Minooka, wind gusts blew over two trucks near Ridge Road, the weather service said.
The storm toppled exit signs on I-355 and I-50 near Bolingbrook, where a spotter clocked a wind gust at 70 mph.
In far west suburban Sandwich, a tree fell on top of a car, but the person inside was not hurt.
But in terms of rainfall, “It went through so fast that the rain wasn’t a huge issue with this,” Friedlein said.
Less than a half-inch of rain fell in most suburbs, but areas far west of the metro area saw up to an inch of precipitation.
Tuesday and Wednesday may also bring hot and rainy weather, with highs in the 80s and a chance again for thunderstorms.