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High winds, storm batter area

A tree ripped out ground by Tuesday morning's storm missed falling home Kathy Wiercinski 2600 block Poplar View Bend Elgin.

A tree ripped out of the ground by Tuesday morning's storm missed falling on the home of Kathy Wiercinski on the 2600 block of Poplar View Bend in Elgin. | Submitted~Kathy Wiercinski

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Updated: December 13, 2010 11:29AM



The area is under a high wind warning as a strong storm moves through the area carrying heavy winds, downpours and wind gusts. Power outages have been reported through out the area including Geneva and the Elgin area.

The National Weather Service warns that potentially damaging high winds are possible Tuesday into Wednesday as a heavy fall thunderstorm whips through the area. The high wind warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Winds are expected to increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph.

Three Elgin School District U46 elementary schools were without power Tuesday morning but spokesman Tony Sanders said “school will proceed” at Huff Elementary School in Elgin, Willard Elementary School in South Elgin and Wayne Elementary School in Wayne.

The National Weather Service issued a brief tornado warning for Kane County that was in effect until 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office reports some trees and power lines were downed during early morning squalls but no serious incidents.

“I believe there are a few old sheds and at least one real old barn that was in bad shape before the storm,” Lt. Pat Gengler, spokesman for the sheriff’s department, said.

A large tree was ripped out of the ground about 7:20 a.m. this morning at a home in the 2600 block of Poplar View Road, Elgin. Residents who live there report the tree fell “perfectly” between two houses and no one was injured when it came down.

Other large trees were reported down on Lenz Road in Plato Township and along Vila Street in Elgin.

The storms tearing through the Chicago area have resulted in more than 125 canceled flights at O’Hare Airport, a ground delay of at least an hour at the airport, nearly 60,000 ComEd customers without power, and one report of a tornado touching down in the far south suburbs.

According to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service, a storm chaser reported a tornado near Peotone, in Will County, about 7:40 a.m. Tuesday. The damage path of this reported tornado was approximately one-half mile long, with a roof torn off one house, a garage destroyed, and at least one house partially destroyed.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said that only two runways at O’Hare International Airport was being used for arrivals and just one runway was being used for departures Tuesday morning.

The Chicago Department of Aviation reported Tuesday morning that there was a ground stop at O’Hare, meaning no flights were departing, in effect from about 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Airlines have canceled more than 125 flights, according to the City Department of Aviation.

Passengers are advised to contact their airline for updates as well as to arrive at the airport two hours before their scheduled departure.

The arrival rate at O’Hare was at about 64 planes per hour, Molinaro said. A typical rate is about 100 planes per hour.

No significant delays were reported at Midway Airport, Molinaro said.

As of about 8 a.m. a total of approximately 59,000 ComEd customers were without power in the metropolitan region, a ComEd spokeswoman said.

The greatest number of these outages were in ComEd’s west region, where 27,700 customers were without power, according to ComEd spokeswoman Krissy Posey. There were 10,700 customers without power in the south region, 13,200 without power in ComEd’s north region and about 7,200 customers in Chicago that were without power Tuesday morning, she said.

ComEd has approximately 340 crews in the field, “assessing damage and working to restore power,” Posey said.

In the event of a prolonged outage, ComEd advises, among other things, to:

• Turn off all appliances including your furnace, water heater, and water pump.

• Leave a lamp on so you can know when power has been restored.

• Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed and open them only when necessary.

The National Weather Service issued a brief tornado warning for west suburban Kane County that was in effect until 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

“There was a core that developed with some significant rotation,” National Weather Service meteorologist David Beachler said.

The weather service is predicting a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms Tuesday, but no rain Wednesday.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) on Monday urged people to be prepared for dangerous situations that could result from the high winds.

“High winds can cause as much, if not more, damage than many tornadoes,” IEMA Interim Director Joe Klinger said. “Some of the worst winds are expected to occur during the overnight hours, when many people will be sleeping. It’s important that people be aware of the forecast and take precautions to stay safe.”

The weather is causing travel problems on the road and air.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said that only two runways at O’Hare International Airport was being used for arrivals and just one runway was being used for departures Tuesday morning.

The Chicago Department of Aviation reported Tuesday morning that there was a ground stop at O’Hare, meaning no flights were departing, in effect from about 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Airlines have canceled more than 125 flights, according to the City Department of Aviation.

Passengers are advised to contact their airline for updates as well as to arrive at the airport two hours before their scheduled departure.

All of this weather activity is caused by an area of low pressure that developed over the Central Great Plains and rapidly intensified as it lifeds northeast toward northwest Wisconsin.

Wind gusts in excess of 55 mph are possible Tuesday, enough to cause non-secure objects to become airborne. The weather system is forecast to have the second deepest low pressure ever to hit the Great Lakes area.

The high winds could also create falling tree limbs and sporadic power outages and cause travel to become difficult.

National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Krein said the area will see a lull in the stormy weather Tuesday afternoon into the night but the severe weather would resume again Wednesday.

A service advisory said south winds will increase to gale force overnight in advance of the low and associated cold front with thunderstorms and winds quickly shifting from southerly to southwesterly. The sustained winds will drive waves on Lake Michigan in excess of 20 feet through the period of storm force winds with some areas of the lake experiencing waves of 27 feet or higher.



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