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Storms Cause Major Damage In Channahon And Minooka, Leaving Trees And Power Lines Down And Debris Scattered

CHANNAHON, Ill. (CBS) -- Afternoon storms pounded the Chicago area Tuesday with torrential rain, fierce winds, and a lot of lightning.

The storms first hit the far north and northwest suburbs, then the southwest suburbs in Will County – where a tornado warning was called.

Hit especially hard were the Will County communities of Channahon and Minooka, where trees and power lines were ripped down in many spots. CBS 2's Charlie De Mar found a tree covering a Channahon road, and nearby it a downed power line running right through the street and causing major power outages.

From the porch of a home in Minooka, the whipping wind and rain tossed trees and debris – and the damage was widespread.

"I thought it was a tornado," said former Channahon Mayor Bill Cook.

Just down the road in Channahon, Cook, 92 – who became the first mayor of Channahon when the community incorporated as a village in 1962 – barely made it inside his home before the storm moved his way.

"I could not close the door - and I pushed hard too," Cook said.

Once the sky cleared, Jami VanAmburgh was forced to face a massive tree upended resting on her home. Late Tuesday, the reality still hadn't set in.

"Slap-happy, tired - I just can't believe it. I just can't," she said. "I never thought anything would take these trees down."

Many were without power late Tuesday. The village reported at least 20 intersections just in Channahon were dealing with downed power lines and poles - which has disrupted service and created a hazard on the road.

Matt Rittof white-knuckled the storm behind the wheel of his car.

"Pretty much a whiteout on 55 trying to get home here," he said. "Couldn't see nothing, and the sheets of rain's coming at you."

Meanwhile, a village board meeting in Channahon was canceled after the severe thunderstorms.

The Channahon village board said all items on the agenda for the meeting will be addressed at the next meeting, which is already scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20.

Phones for the Channahon Village Hall and Police Department administrative offices also went down Tuesday afternoon.

And while the neighbors chipped in to clean up and help out, the former mayor put it all into perspective.

"I'm glad nobody got killed — that's the main thing," Cook said.

There was no word Tuesday night of any injuries from the storms.

ComEd crews will be continuing their survey of the damage and disruptions in service and will work to restore power. But again, you are asked to be very careful and avoid those powerlines.

Those in Channahon who wish to report downed lines or trees blocking roadways should call (815) 467-9259.

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