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Chicago Weather: Trees Come Down, Power Lines Emit Showers Of Sparks As Severe Storms Pound Chicago Area

By Meredith Barack, Robb Ellis, Dana Kozlov

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There were no tornadoes like Monday night, but severe storms that pounded the Chicago area Tuesday evening did plenty of damage.

The Evanston Fire Department reported the storms knocked down trees all around the northern suburb, resulting in a massive power outage.

Trees also came down in Skokie and left streets blocked.

Debris that came down also led to the suspension on the Chicago Transit Authority Yellow Line, and Metra service on the Union Pacific-North, Northwest, and West lines were also suspended.

CTA Brown Line trains were also standing at Sedgwick due to debris on the tracks.

CHECK: CTA | Metra

In West Rogers Park, CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported a tree snapped on Talman Avenue near Albion Avenue during the storm and came down almost right onto 81-year-old Irene Vass' house.

She immediately called her son.

"As the storm was rolling through, she gave me a call. I live like 20 minutes away from here, and she called me saying that a tree fell on the home – and she couldn't look outside, she couldn't see like what kind of tree it was – but she said it's on the roof. And so that's all she could tell me, and then I'm like, should I come over? And so I came over, even though she told me, 'There's nothing you could do,'" said George Vass. "So I came over, and there was literally nothing I could do."

It was not clear whether the tree was struck by lightning, taken down by wind, or led to split by another means.

Vass was able to get out the back and was not injured. The house was not severely damaged, as the tree snapped and came down between the house and a building next door.

Several blocks to the north and west, wind also brought down a tree at Touhy and Kedzie avenues.

A light pole and a tree came down in the 6000 block of West Irving Park Road. Kozlov reported that light poles also came down in the 2300 block of West Winona Street, just southeast of Foster and Western avenues.

Winona Street Light Poles Down
(Credit: Dana Kozlov/CBS 2)
Winona Street Light Poles Down
(Credit: Dana Kozlov/CBS 2)

There were also reports of flooding on the Stevenson Expressway at Pulaski Road, and at the viaduct at Western and Ogden avenues.

Earlier, damage was reported in McHenry County. In Crystal Lake, video showed a garage came down, and there were reports of trees down in Lake in the Hills, and East Oak Street at Hilltop Drive was closed.

In Mundelein, a tree blew over in Prairie Avenue and took down power lines with it.

In Oak Brook, CBS 2's Meredith Barack reported power lines came down at Midwest and Butterfield roads and started fires.

Firefighters arrived on Midwest Road just before 8 p.m., and were still hours later. CBS 2's Barack and her crew had to keep some distance, as the live power line was left resting on a tall tree.

The fire department said there was nothing they can do until ComEd arrives - which could be quite some time. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, more than 1,100 customers in that area of Oak Brook alone were without power.

Northbound lanes blocked on Midwest Road were blocked Tuesday night, and police and fire crews were asking people to avoid the area because of the danger of the downed power line.

One firefighter said they anticipate a long night ahead, but were thankful the downed line was the only storm-related call they received Tuesday night.

Trees also came down in Elgin – some of them splitting in half and leaving streets blocked. Fences and kids' playsets were ripped apart and blown all around the neighborhood.

In Oak Lawn, a large limb was down on Cicero Avenue at 83rd Street.

In Grayslake, Jess Guenther reported a tree came down on her house.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, there were multiple reports of trees and wires down. Police there advised the public to use extreme caution and stay inside.

The storms also brought dramatic bolts of lightning above the skyline downtown before the clouds and heavy rain moved in.

A total of 178,192 ComEd customers were reported to be without power around the Chicago area as of 10 p.m.

The storms had largely moved out by 10 p.m., though a severe thunderstorm warning remained for parts of Northwest Indiana.

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