Twisters tear through Chicago, suburbs; tornado touches down near O’Hare

Tornado warnings across Cook County were canceled by 7:45 p.m., though residents were advised to take shelter and monitor weather reports through the evening.

SHARE Twisters tear through Chicago, suburbs; tornado touches down near O’Hare
tornado Western Springs

A tornado appears over Western Springs.

Courtesy of Stephanie Breakey

Residents in the Chicago area took shelter and kept a watchful eye on ominous skies for hours Wednesday as tornadoes whipped through the area.

The National Weather Service confirmed numerous tornadoes moved through the area at about 7 p.m, prompting a tornado warning for Cook County and tornado watch for surrounding counties.

tornado Edgewater by Del Webb Elgin

A wide tornado left trees down and damaged homes in the Edgewater by Del Webb community in Elgin.

Courtesy of Hank Fetic

Warnings were lifted by 7:45 p.m., though residents were advised to stay indoors and monitor weather reports for much of the evening.

A tornado touched down near O’Hare International Airport around 7 p.m., the weather service confirmed. The tornado was “touching the ground intermittently” and moving east, according to a tweet from the weather service. Cook County was under a tornado warning after a tornado was confirmed east of South Elgin, the agency said.

Sirens warning of tornadoes were heard in various parts of the city Wednesday evening, and weather alerts lit up phone screens.

Dark funnel clouds St. Charles

Dark funnel clouds over St. Charles are seen about 6:25 p.m. Wednesday.

Courtesy of Owen Szarley

Flights were grounded at Midway and O’Hare airports. Normal fight operations resumed at Midway at about 7:45 p.m. with departure delays of at least 15 minutes. Flights at O’Hare also resumed about 8 p.m., with ongoing delays.

travelers crowds O’Hare International Airport

Travelers seek shelter in O’Hare International Airport.

Courtesy of Lara Solnes

A tornado watch was in place for DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, La Salle, McHenry and Will counties until 10 p.m. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible; it is less severe than a tornado warning, which indicates that a tornado has been spotted or is expected by the weather service.

The main areas at risk of tornadoes were between Interstate 80 north toward the Wisconsin/Illinois state line, according to the weather service.

tree Elgin

A tree is downed southwest of Elgin.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The hail and winds expected in the area could be severe enough to damage cars and buildings and down fences and trees.

Three years ago, a tornado with winds peaking at 110 mph ripped through the Rogers Park neighborhood on the North Side, leaving behind damaged buildings, downed trees and power outages. No major injuries were reported despite the heavy damage.

 trees down Huntley

Winds cut trees down in northwest suburban Huntley.

@LifeOfCaiden on Twitter

On a scale of 0-5, the severe weather threat was categorized as a 3 by the weather service early Wednesday evening.

shopping cart enclosure Menard’s Hodgkins

A shopping cart enclosure was blown apart outside a Menard’s in southwest suburban Hodgkins.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

The city’s Emergency Management Department will be prepared with flood mitigation equipment and coordinate with the departments of Streets and Sanitation, Transportation and Water Management, according to a release from Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office.


Tree branches rest on the roof of a home near Elgin.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

City officials request that residents refrain from using extra water for showers, laundry or household chores to ease pressure on the city’s wastewater system. Residents can report a backup of water in their homes or businesses by calling 311 or going to to report water in basements, standing water in streets and viaduct flooding.

Jake Petr, a meteorologist with the weather service, said rainfall at O’Hare Airport totaled .7 inches as of 4:30 p.m. At Midway Airport, 1.17 inches was recorded.

One of the highest totals for the day in the area was in Romeoville, at 2.63 inches, Petr said.

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