Commonwealth Edison Co. reported substantial progress in restoring power lost in Monday's storms but that still left hundreds of thousands without electricity in sweltering heat. The utility warned it could take days to get everyone back on line.
A record 868,000 homes and businesses were left without power by the storms that ripped through the area at 75 mph--the highest number of outages in 13 years. But by 11 a.m. that had been reduced to about 350,000.
The majority were in the northern suburbs, where 196,000 were still in the dark and without air conditioning. About 72,000 were west of the city, 53,000 in Chicago and Maywood and 29,000 in the south suburbs.
In total, power had been restored to 502,600 customers, the utility said.
The last time a storm left a comparable number of customers without power was in 1998, when 865,000 customers lost power in one storm.
ComEd spokesperson Tony Hernandez told
radio's John Williams Monday afternoon that "this is going to be one for the record books."
The company warned it could take days to restore all power. It had 480 crews out working, with more being called in from neighboring states.
The good news today was that no more severe weather was expected in the area, although it will be hot and those without air conditioning will be uncomfortable. Today is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high of 85.
The fast-moving storms halted flights, stopped trains and even blew down a festival tent in Palos Hills.
, seven workers taking down the tent suffered minor injuries when the high winds picked up the tent and tent poles at the site of the Palos Hills Friendship Fest at 109th Street and 88th Avenue near Moraine Valley Community College. Two of those injured were part of the Cook County Sheriff's Work Alternative Program, non-violent, misdemeanor offenders out of the Cook County Jail who were doing community service under supervision. A Palos Hills parks department employee, two Palos Hills Public Works Department employees, and an employee of McCook-based Classic Party Rentals were also hurt in the incident.
The high winds affected
West, Northwest and North lines, with delays of about 45 minutes to an hour, according to spokesman Tom Miller and Metra's
. About two dozen Union Pacific trains were stopped until about 8:45 a.m., and the speeds of Burlington Northern-Santa Fe trains were reduced, Miller said.
Metra sent out more than 80 service advisories due to delays on its lines, primarily caused by the storm.
reported major delays on all its rail lines until late morning. For a time, service on both the Purple and Yellow lines was halter completely because of debris on the tracks and electrical problems.
Flights were grounded at both O'Hare and Midway airports for about 45 minutes. About 200 flights were canceled at O'Hare but only a few at Midway, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. As of about 1:30 p.m., delays of 90 minutes were being reported for inbound and outbound flights at O'Hare, and delays of 30-90 minutes for some flights at Midway.
had at least three reports of people trapped in cars with large tree limbs on them, but there were no reports of injuries.
In the city, 36 traffic signals had been reported out of service because of power outages, 144 city electrical wires were reported downed and 70 light poles were damaged, according to Chicago Transportation Department officials.
In Chicago, there were 2,500 tree emergencies reported to 311. Of those, 350 have been taken care of with 60 of those blocking trees.
Trees hit homes and power lines throughout theChicago area, with branches 8 to 10 inches thick down throughout the area, especially in the north and northwest suburbs, according to the National Weather Service.
Several semi-tractor trucks were reported knocked over by winds, including on 65th Street at Menard Avenue in Chicago and on Interstate 94 at Illinois Route 176 in Greek Oaks in Lake County.
of Greater Chicago opened two shelters Monday evening inWaukegan andLisle for people who were displaced from apartment buildings damaged in the storm. The shelters provided meals, toiletries, and a safe and air-conditioned domicile for the night.
Call the Red Cross media line for shelter locations and shelter population at 312-907-0520.
In Waukegan, about 100 residents had to leave an apartment complex after winds ripped off roofs from two buildings of the three-story complex at Golf Road and Pine Street.
There were no signs of serious injuries though one person who was apparently having trouble breathing was taken from the scene in ambulance.
"This is the third week in a row" that Waukegan has been heavily hit by storms, Fire Chief Don Young said.
"We've got hundreds of power lines down, trees through houses," Young said. "It's the same area that has been hit the last two weeks."
Waukegan Fire Marshal Steve Lenzi said that of the three recent damaging storms, this has been the worst for Waukegan. "We have five to 10 structures that are severely damaged today. … We can't keep up with it."
Leticia Gallardo, a resident of the Pine Grove Apartments on Golf Road, where two buildings were severely damaged, said neighbors came knocking on her door, telling her to head for the basement and that it could be a tornado.
"I was really nervous. I was crying and trying to go downstairs. I had my (toddler) nephew with me. I couldn't carry him. Everything was flying. A tree right in front burst," Gallardo said through her daughter, who translated from Spanish. "I ran out with my shoes off, barefoot. My nephew was naked."
Outside, Gallardo's van was crushed by the tree that fell.
's main call center was without power, but information was still available online, officials said.
The storm toppled large trees and power lines in the
area and caused power outages throughout Lake County. Along Grand Avenue west of Illinois Highway 21, traffic was being routed around large tree trunks, and cars were driving over downed power lines. Also in Gurnee,
's start time was closed because of the weather, according to the amusement park's
area, more than 10,000 customers were without power, according to the ComEd outage map. "There are quite a few power lines and trees down," said Pay Alaynick, Crystal Lake Police Department office coordinator. "Residents need to be careful."
County College cancelled classes for the day following the storm.
, a brief power outage in the Will County Courthouse forced judges to stop their morning calls for about 10 minutes.
The storms hit the area around 8 a.m., with Doppler radar showing a line of severe thunderstorms capable of producing 70 mph winds and quarter-size hail.
The storms moved in at 70 mph.
clocked winds of 75 mph and
saw 63 mph winds mph as 65 mph winds hit
. High winds downed trees in
and other area towns.
In Western Springs, officials opened a cooling center at the Recreation Center, 1500 Walker, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The National Weather Service has a roundup of storm damage on its
. For updates, check the