CHICAGO, IL — Storms hit the Chicago area Monday, and a derecho — defined by the National Weather Service as “a widespread, long-lived wind storm” — moved through the area, bringing with it damaging high winds. In the midst of the storm, the NWS confirmed that a “brief tornado” touched down in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood before moving out over Lake Michigan and becoming a waterspout.
According to the NWS, the tornado touched down in the neighborhood around 4 p.m.
“It was crazy, madness, really dark,” Rogers Park resident Jasman O’Connell told NBC Chicago. “I was really scared.” Another neighbor said he came outside to find his car “in half” due to storm damage.
The strong storms left more than 500,000 households without power in the Chicago area Monday. As of Tuesday morning, more than 370,000 customers remained without power, according to ComEd.
The NWS said there were more than 100 severe storm reports Monday in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, including some reports of significant damage.
In addition to the confirmed tornado in Rogers Park, “embedded brief tornadoes” may have occurred as the storm hit other parts of Illinois.
The NWS reported widespread damage in Forreston, Illinois, located in Ogle County, as well as multiple overturned semi-trucks near LaSalle-Peru. Wind gusts of 72 mph were reported at Midway Airport.
Five people were hurt and a disaster was declared in Forreston, where winds of up to 100 mph roared through the village. Village President Mark Metzger told the Rockford Register Star there were widespread reports of tree damage and downed wires, as well as structural damage. A mobile home park near Illinois 72 was hardest hit.
Despite the intense winds, there were no reported storm-related deaths, the NWS said.