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Severe storms take down trees in Chicago area

Severe storms bring down trees, damage houses on Chicago's Southwest Side
Severe storms bring down trees, damage houses on Chicago's Southwest Side 02:50

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A microburst was blamed for taking down trees on the city's Far South and Southwest sides Monday afternoon.

The microburst brought 60 to 70 mph winds. Trees also came down in other parts of the city as storms swept through the area.

Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) said in a ward news update that the microburst took down trees throughout his ward, which includes the Beverly and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.

The storms came through very quickly within four to five minutes, and many older and mature trees came down. Some large branches blocked streets, and large limbs also fell on homes and cars, according to O'Shea.

Trees came down on several properties in Beverly. 

Neighbors said they couldn't see outside during the storm because the rain was coming down so hard. Once visibility improved, they saw the damage left behind.

"It started raining really hard, and then, it was like crazy," said Andrew Smith of Beverly. "It was just a huge, like, burst, and then all of sudden, I heard a loud boom."

Smith stepped outside his home to find a few limbs covering his car. But when he turned, it was clear where the boom came from.

"I turned to the left, and that's when I saw the tree on the house," he said.

A huge and heavy branch had crashed onto the red tile roof of Smith's neighbor's bungalow, on Campbell Avenue near 106th Street.

"It was very quick," Smith said. "I think the whole thing lasted maybe less than five minutes."

While the storm blew through quickly, it packed a punch.

"All the like rain was like slanted, and like, you couldn't see," said Meaghan Quinn of Beverly.

The homeowner on Campbell Avenue was not inside when the tree fell, but witnesses heard the loud boom amid the rain and rushed out.

The storm left a path of destruction, including damage to a fence a block away at 105th Street and Maplewood Avenue.

"This was scary," said Bridge Quinn. "This was the second hailstorm that we had within weeks."

Beverly is known for its mature trees. But the storm Monday even uprooted a few of those.

City crews went to work quickly to clear the road from another tree that came down at 104th Street and Claremont Avenue.

In southwest suburban Merrionette Park, the only thing keeping a tree from falling on a house was a power line. Meanwhile, ground likely shook when a massive tree toppled onto tombstones near a cemetery at 115th Street and Fairfield Avenue.

Back on Campbell Avenue, since the tree sat on city property, crews did not want to take any chances of more limbs falling. So they cut more branches on the old tree, as neighbors hoped the severe weather threat was behind them.

"We're so thankful we were inside the house during that," said Bridget Quinn.

The National Weather Service also reported trees down on the other side of the city. Photos and videos shared to social media showed several branches down at Wrightwood Avenue and Hampden Court in the Lincoln Park neighborhood – close to the historic Francis J. Dewes House.

Damage was also seen all around the region, well beyond the Chicago aera. Winds of 45 mph may have caused a structure collapse at a construction site in Machesney Park, Illinois, south of Rockford.

Some workers were in separate high lifts that crashed to the ground at the Machesney Park scene. Two men were hospitalized, but the third declined treatment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating late Monday.

In Chicago, anyone who needs to report a tree down can call 311, or report the damage online,

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