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South Suburbs Clean Up After Tornadic Storm

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Calumet City Tornado

Charles Steele captured a funnel cloud in Calumet City on home video. (Credit: Charles Steele/CBS)

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CALUMET CITY, Ill. (CBS) – Neighbors are cleaning up a day after strong storms prompted a tornado warning and produced a funnel cloud south of Chicago.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the National Weather Service said Thursday morning they had yet to confirm whether a tornado had actually touched down.

But regardless, the tornadic storm that swept through the south suburbs caused serious damage.

For one example, the Dutch Valley Foods packaging plant on the border between South Holland and Calumet City was severely damaged. The storm left chunks of brick, scraps of metal and plenty of roofing paper strewn along the ground, and wiring hanging from the roof.

Employees at the plant said at least part of the roof was completely ripped off, and the walls and parts of the offices and other interior areas were destroyed or damaged, Newsradio 780′s Regine Schlesinger reports. No one was hurt and the plant’s refrigeration system is still working.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Regine Schlesinger Reports

Earlier, it was a scary scene for people who witnessed a funnel cloud, which cell phone video captured spinning over Calumet City near River Oaks Shopping Center as a strong storm came through Illinois and Indiana.

Police reported the tornado just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, and a tornado warning was issued for southern Cook County and parts of Lake and Porter counties.

The National Weather Service said the tornadic storm was moving east around 20 mph.

Charles Steele grabbed his cell phone and captured the daunting cloud twisting and churning in the air. Then he ran for cover.

“It was swirling and it was forming, and it started coming down close to the ground about a half a mile away, and I yelled at my wife, and I said, ‘There’s a tornado! Let’s go!’” Steele said.

Back at Dutch Valley Foods, a contractor stopped by Wednesday night and assessed the damage at $100,000 or more. An insurance company is also set to stop by Thursday morning, and the cleanup efforts across the area will continue throughout the day.

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