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Derecho Sweeps Through Chicago Early Monday Evening

A powerful storm swept through the Chicagoland area Monday afternoon, downing trees and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of people.

A downed tree branch in McKinley Park. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

The storm began to blanket the area around 4pm on Monday, with peak winds of 70-90mph. Though winds uprooted trees and damaged cars and homes in some areas, the National Weather Service said that there were no reported injuries or fatalities in the Chicagoland area.

The NWS also confirmed that one tornado touched down in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

“While much of the wind damage was straight-line wind, a few tornadoes were likely embedded within the storm complex across the region, and one has been confirmed in Rogers Park, IL. This did move out over Lake MI becoming a waterspout,” the NWS tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Video posted to Twitter showed a dark swirling cloud of debris floating over some trees and houses in the area.

“It was crazy, madness, really dark,” Rogers Park resident Jasman O’Connell told NBC5. “I was really scared.”

The storm, known as a derecho, swept through a major swath of the Midwest, covering 770 miles from South Dakota into Ohio, according to the NWS. “This derecho traveled approximately 770 miles in 14 hours and produced widespread damaging wind gusts, including numerous wind gusts over 74 mph (65 kt) & several over 90 mph in central Iowa,” said the service. The last time the area saw such a storm was in June of 2014, a rare double derecho. The first to pass through the area had recorded winds of more than 55mph, and the second spawned at least 5 tornadoes throughout northern Illinois.

According to ComEd, more than 165,000 people in the Chicagoland area were still without power.

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