Windy City: Tornadoes Rip Through Chicago

This home in suburban Chicago was damaged by a tornado on Aug. 4, 2008. AP PHOTO

Severe thunderstorms plowed across the Midwest during the night, ripping roofs from buildings, chasing people to shelter and blacking out thousands of homes and businesses. One death was blamed on the storms.

At least three tornadoes struck the Chicago area, reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds. One of those hit Griffith, Ind. with a force that left homeowner Jeff Jelensick in disbelief.

"This was my son's room, no roof there either," Jelensick said. "It hit everywhere on this house. It's amazing."

Gusts over 90 miles an hour - stronger than winds generated by tropical storm Edouard - tore into a nearby shopping center, lifting off roofs and turning businesses inside out, Reynolds reports. One fatality was reported in northwest Indiana from a falling tree.

The storm, with abundant thunder and lightning, reached Chicago just as the Cubs were playing Houston at Wrigley field -- where instead of take me out to the ballgame it was "get me out of the ballpark."

By Tuesday afternoon, showers and thunderstorms were scattered over several hundred miles from central Illinois into West Virginia.

The National Weather Service said tornadoes touched down in the Chicago suburbs of Bloomingdale and Bolingbrook, where about 24 homes were damaged, and at Griffith, Indiana, where roofs were torn off several homes and businesses.

Travelers at Chicago O'Hare, one of the busiest U.S. airports, were evacuated into the lower levels of the complex's buildings. All flights were temporarily halted, and travelers who had already boarded airplanes were taken off and also were sent to the lower levels as a precaution.

"It was pretty cramped down there, the whole terminal was down there," said George Wickens, 50, of London, who was trying to travel to Florida with his family.

The storm tore roofs and siding from homes Monday night at the northern Indiana town of Griffith. Near Michigan City, Indiana, a tree fell on a car and killed the 23-year-old driver, LaPorte County Deputy Coroner John Sullivan said.

Thousands of people were without electricity in the region.
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