(CTN NEWS) – Violent tornadoes and thunderstorms pounded the Chicago region on Wednesday, resulting in the suspension of air traffic at airports and urging local residents to find shelter as the piercing sound of tornado sirens reverberated throughout the third largest city in the United States.
According to the National Weather Service, a tornado descended near O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Wednesday evening, one among at least eight tornadoes that struck northeastern Illinois, including four in Cook County.
The National Weather Service cautioned, “This tornado has sporadically touched the ground thus far and is currently moving east. There are additional swirling formations along the southern part of the O’Hare vicinity.
If you are in the warned area, it is advisable to seek shelter.” However, less than an hour later, they announced that the area was no longer under threat from tornadoes.
Chicago Storm Impact: Flight Groundings and Shelter Seekers at O’Hare Airport
No immediate injuries were reported, but the severity of the storms compelled authorities to ground all commercial flight departures from O’Hare and Midway airports, as confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration.
FlightAware reported the cancellation of over 300 flights at O’Hare and 32 flights at Midway. Consequently, numerous individuals sought refuge at O’Hare.
Lynn Becker, a long-term resident of Chicago, captured the atmosphere on video and shared it on Twitter, capturing the sound of sirens resonating across the city’s skyline.
“Given that I reside in a 60-story apartment building, my options are somewhat limited,” he mentioned. “I assume we need to seek shelter in the innermost part of the building.”
He added, “There’s a certain level of panic when you watch the TV screen and everything is depicted in red… but we remain hopeful that the damage will be minimal.”
Severe Damage Caused by Tornadoes in Northeastern Illinois
The National Weather Service provided accounts of severe damage caused by the tornadoes in northeastern Illinois.
In the town of Countryside, located in Cook County, trees were uprooted and roofs were blown off. Similarly, in La Grange, car windows were shattered by the powerful winds.
The service also received reports of tree and roof damage from multiple other tornadoes. An emergency manager, who wished to remain unidentified, informed the weather service about a roof being blown off in the community of Huntley in McHenry County.
According to historical records from the weather service, the Chicago metropolitan area has experienced tornadoes in the past, including some that occurred within the city limits.
Between 1855 and 2008, the weather service documented 92 significant tornadoes in the Chicago metro area. Among them, the deadliest tornado formed in Palos Hills in Cook County on April 21, 1967.
This twister traveled 16 miles through Oak Lawn and the south side of Chicago, resulting in the loss of 33 lives, injuring 500 individuals, and causing more than $50 million in damages, as reported by the weather service.
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