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Severe Storms Pound Chicago, Northwest Indiana

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A possible tornado hit the Indiana town of Rensselaer on Sunday. (CBS)

A possible tornado hit the Indiana town of Rensselaer on Sunday. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – At least one person was hurt in the severe storms that ripped through portions of the Chicago area Sunday. Hail fell in several suburbs, while a possible tornado in northwest Indiana destroyed a building and toppled power lines.

A tornado watch previously issued for all of northeastern Illinois and five counties in Indiana expired at midnight, according to the National Weather Service. Survey teams will be out Monday to assess some of the area’s damage, NWS Meteorologist Ben Deubelveiss said.

“We got a lot of severe weather yesterday, so they’ll have a lot of traveling to do,” Deubelveiss said.

ComEd reports that most of the 23,000 customers without power were in the Rockford area. About 600 people were without power in the Chicago area as of 5 a.m.

A person was hurt when a tree fell onto a house in far northwest Rockford. It was the only reported Chicago-area injury from the storm, he said.

Surveyors will also determine whether damage from two reported possible tornadoes was caused by straight-line or tornadic winds, Deubelveiss said.

One reportedly touched down about one-quarter mile north of Rensselaer along Route 231 in northwest Indiana, CBS 2 Dana Kozlov reports. The roof of the local farm bureau office was and two other buildings were damaged, one of which caught fire. The storm also felled many area power lines.

The reported twister–or possible microburst–hit the north side of Rensselear about 4:30 p.m.

“I looked out and noticed green color to the sky and thought, “Well, something is not right’ ‘ James Sealy said.

Nobody was reported injured in the storm. Officials will review data today to determine whether it was actually a tornado or some sort of microburst.

Another possible tornado hit a Roscoe fire station in Winnebago County, Ill., damaging the building and sending firefighters running for cover after they saw a funnel cloud, Deubelveiss said.

Closer to Chicago, lightning damaged a home in south suburban Beecher in a storm producing strong winds and quarter-sized hail.

Lightning struck the center of the two-story home in the 30000 block of South Ashland Ave. in Beecher and caused at least $300,000 damage, Beecher Fire Chief Dave Lagesse said. Nobody was injured.

In Arlington Heights and Olympia Fields, dime-sized hail was reported between 3 and 4 p.m., the weather service said. Spotters also reported hail in Lombard, Villa Park, Morton Grove, North Chicago, Hammond, Ind., and Waukegan during that time.

Half- to three-quarter-inch hailstones reportedly fell for about eight minutes at 59th and Halsted on the city’s South Side, while pea-sized hail was falling near Cumberland and Irving Park roads on the Northwest Side, the website said.

Today, the metro area will see highs around 80 and winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour with a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, according to the website.

Forecasters are predicting a “slight chance” of more severe weather for eastern Will County and the far southeastern tip of Cook County, as well as portions of northwest Indiana, but that forecast could change, Deubelveiss said.

The city’s Department of Aviation said airlines are reporting weather-related delays of 60 to 90 minutes at O’Hare Airport and more than 150 cancellations. At Midway Airport, there are “minor” delays and no cancellations.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed

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