Clean-up continues after strong storms - FOX 32 News Chicago

Clean-up continues after strong storms

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Trees have fallen on most every street. Power is out for homes, businesses and traffic lights. ComEd said it will be days before some customers' service is fully restored.

At Family Pantry, the owner watches Com Ed trucks pass by hoping they'll restore power on Geneva Road. But the utility is saying it will be days for some customers.

He has thrown out all the ice cream and milk. He knows customers won't want to buy a lot Monday, but he is open and doing cash transactions. The thing he does have that people want, is ice.

The heat is getting oppressive. After $800 in product loss at the family pantry, the owner said, he doesn't know how long he can keep doing business.

Calpesh Parikh said he calculates the prices of cigarettes, liquor and other items in his head and keeps track of the sales by hand.

He said if the power doesn't come back soon, he'll have to close and go home, having sustained $800 in product losses alone. Parikh said it's a loss he'll have to bear.

The highest winds - upwards of 90 miles an hour - were recorded in Winfield and Bloomingdale. They were strong enough to rip out large trees, knocking them on power lines. The wind even lifted part of a roof from a church.

For a complete guide on how to BEAT THE HEAT, check out our SURVIVAL GUIDE.

One neighborhood hit hard is east of County Farm Road in unincorporated West Chicago.

A fallen tree did some major damage to a West Chicago home on National and Arbor. AirFOX spotted the tree Monday morning, where it was still laying across the house. An entire corner of the home was sheared off.

Residents up the street in unincorporated West Chicago are trying to move large trees off their houses, cars and lawns.

One homeowner lost seven trees and a wooden fence. Her neighbor's chimney fell off the side of the house, pushed by 90 mile an hour winds. Large trees crashed onto sheds and patio furniture but most consider themselves lucky the damage wasn't worse.

The other valuable commodity in Winfield is gasoline - to power generators. Com Ed said 300,000 customers lost power in the storm. 98,000 are still without electricity.

Business owners say being closed more than one day is a hardship.

Generators powered through the night to keep families cool but not everyone had one. Ken Schneider said he slept in a recliner near his front door to keep cool. Others said they spent the night in basements.

Pool-goers like Elizabeth Valdivia's family in Lombard scrambled out of the water as the violent weather "came out of nowhere."

Valdivia in Lombard said she, her husband and their two sons - ages 9 and 11 - did not even have time to make the quick drive home from the local park district pool. And when they returned home the fallen tree limbs made their neighborhood look "like a disaster zone."

The damage there included many downed power lines, buildings and homes. Nearly 200 calls of fallen trees and branches poured into Chicago's 911 center.

A large tree fell on a vehicle, trapping a person inside on the North Side Sauganash neighborhood. Emergency crews were called at 12:43 p.m. to the 6000 block of North Kostner, according to police. A paramedic team was called but no one was transported, officials said.

Long-time Winfield residents told FOX Chicago News it was the worst storm they had ever seen.

Nicole Caruso lives in Winfield, just one of many western suburbs brought to a standstill after Sunday morning's storm.

"It came out of nowhere - I don't think we had much of a warning," Caruso said. "I was having a garage sale at the time so we ran everything in before it came and got downstairs before it hit everything."

It was a storm packing enough power to knock down a stoplight and rip off pieces of a church roof in Bloomingdale.

"There were quite a few booms from the trees that were uplifting out of the ground so it was pretty loud - a lot of hail," Caruso said.

It's been years since Winfield has seen a storm's aftermath down trees and power lines, leaving debris blocking streets - but even then, it was nothing like this.

"I saw all the lines down on the road on County Farm," Andrea Kerber said. "We've had storms come through here before, nothing like this, ever like this, so this is probably the worse one we've seen through here."

The aftermath remained long after the hail, wind and rain had gone.

"We actually were out of town and we had someone staying at our house that called us frantically," Kerber said. "Unfortunately we were four hours from home, so we did a lot of fast driving because we heard our trees were down, our fence was down in the back, our glass table shattered - we have a mess, we have a mess to clean up."

The sound of chain saws filled neighborhoods. For Andrea Kerber and many in Winfield the cleanup process is just getting started.

"We lost two huge trees that will never grow back in our lifetime," Kerber said. "They were beautiful but yeah, no roof damage, our house is still here, nobody got hurt so that's the most important thing."

"I have a little bit of damage on the siding, poked a little hole with the trees coming down but nothing too serious," Carrie Tijerina said. "Nothing came through the house, thank God. Now it's clean up and hoping the county will come through here and take care of all the debris and everything."

Two chimneys were also knocked off their perch. There are no reports of injuries.

Sunday's storm also blew in too fast for dozens of kayakers on the Chicago River.

About 60 kayakers were flipped into the water – including children - around 12:50 p.m. They had to be rescued near Chicago Avenue and Halsted.

Police marine boats came to the rescue, and got them all out safely. They were all wearing life jackets, which made their rescue more efficient and their predicament less dangerous.

Citations were issued to Chicago Kayak and Waveriders Kayak Tours after they failed to suspend tours despite severe weather warnings.

"We had it all under control," said Chicago Kayak owner Dave Olson. "We had three guides out there, so for us it wasn't that big of a deal."

Jason De Palma of the Vantage Yacht Club sent FOX Chicago News a picture that shows one of the victims being towed to safety.

On Sunday, area residents had little time to prepare for what was about to hit them when the National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the west suburbs at 11:25 a.m. It included Chicago in another warning at 12:24 p.m., and storms hit central Cook County shortly before 1 p.m.

The storms intensified again on the South Side of downtown Chicago at about the same time, according to the National Weather Service. They moved over the lake and into Northwest Indiana around 1:30 p.m.

The weather service heard reports of winds up to 80 to 90 mph, starting in the Elburn and Maple Park areas and moving east into central DuPage County. Winds measured up to 60 mph near O'Hare Airport.

Reports of hail came in from Will, Kane, DuPage and Cook counties, including some bigger than an inch reported in Wheaton, Addison and Brookfield.

National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Nelson said temperatures dropped in DuPage County, near Midway and O'Hare from a high of 91 degrees before the storms hit to lows of 64, 67 and 69, respectively. When the storms passed, he said, the entire region rebounded to the upper 80s and low 90s.

Despite the storms, the National Weather Service said Chicago has had 18 days of 90-degree temperatures so far this year - putting the city on a record setting pace. Weather forecasters said that will continue this week, and city officials urged Chicagoans to get ready for it.

"It is important to treat extreme heat temperatures as you would any other emergency," said Gary Schenkel, the head of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. "Taking the necessary precautions can prevent heat-related emergencies and ensure safety while enjoying summer activities."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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