A severe thunderstorm that hit the Chicagoland area Monday morning may have been short-lived, but it caused one of the biggest local power outages ever.
Heavy rain, hail and winds of up to 75 miles per hour hit the area just after 8 a.m., leaving about 700,000 people without power at one point. Commonwealth Edison spokesman Tony Hernandez told the Associated Press that the storm was one of the top three in the utility's history and possibly the worst. In the Chicago area alone, 126,000 ComEd customers are without power.
ComEd reportedly recruited utilities from other states to help restore service to customers, but restoration could take up to two days in some areas.
Aside from the power woes, the storm led to downed power lines and trees throughout the city and suburbs. The National Weather Service also issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Fire Department responded to at least three reports of people trapped in cars that had been hit with large tree limbs, but no injuries were reported.
All flights at O'Hare and Midway airports were temporarily grounded as the storm passed, and more than 200 flights have been canceled at O'Hare. As of 1:30 p.m., airlines at O'Hare were experiencing delays of up to 90 minutes for in and outbound flights, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Few cancellations were reported at Midway Airport, where some flights have been delayed 30 to 90 minutes.
Passengers are being asked to check with their airline before heading to the airport.
The severe weather also disrupted several train lines. Metra's Union Pacific West line was halted due to high winds, stopping inbound and outbound trains from Chicago to Elburn. Trains were moving again by 9 a.m.
While the rain and clouds gave way to sunshine, temperatures were uncomfortable Monday afternoon as temperatures reached nearly 90 degrees and humidity remained high.
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