Severe Storms Sweep Across Chicago Area Friday

CHICAGO (CBS) — Following a day of triple-digit heat, the Chicago area saw some strong thunderstorms today.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Cook, DuPage, DeKalb, Kane and Will counties on Friday morning. The warning expired shortly before noon as the strongest storms moved out of the area.

Winds were gusting to 60 miles per hour with heavy rainfall and dangerous lightning.

In fact, as CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, a lightning strike destroyed a chimney at a home on the Northwest Side. Firefighters had to chop a hole into the roof to vent the smoke.

Downtown, folks tried their best to keep dry during the late morning deluge. Others welcomed the downpour.

“I haven’t seen a good thunderstorm in a long time,’ said a slightly soaked Stacey Swanson, referring to the extended dry spell in May and June.

At times, the rain seemed to be falling harder than the water from the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park.

A group of kids and their chaperones taking in the sights downtown had to improvise–donning white garbage bags to stay dry.

One woman was wearing a garbage bag, styled as an “up-do” on her head.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to get my hair wet,” Angel Cook said, laughing.

There was a slight relief from the excessive heat from Thursday, with highs expected in the 80s. The high at O’Hare on Thursday reached the 100-degree mark for the first time since 2005.

A series of isolated storms hit Chicagoland last night, with the southern suburbs hit with driving rain and hail up to an inch in diameter.

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