CHICAGO (STMW) – A fast-moving storm is moving through the Chicago area, triggering a series of tornado watches and warnings and halting the Bears-Ravens game at Soldier Field.
Earlier tornado warning and watches for Cook County have been canceled, according to the National Weather Service.
There were confirmed reports of a tornado touching down near Manhattan – in Will County – and in Downstate Pekin, near Peoria, according to the weather service.
In the Southwest suburbs, Frankfort Police Chief John Burica reported said tree limbs knocked down power lines early Sunday afternoon, blocking Sauk Trail near Pfeiffer Road and on U.S. 45 south of Steger Road. No injures, no flooding or major damage have been reported at this time, the chief said.
“For the size of the storm, we’re in good shape,” Burica said.
While the Bears-Ravens game started on time – just after noon – play has been stopped and the seating area was cleared. Fans were passing the time in the covered concourse area, until the game resumed at 2:25 p.m., officials said. The National Football League makes the decision about any game delays, officials at Soldier Field said.
“We’ve been season ticket holders forever and this is the first time I’ve seen it this bad,” said Rebecca Marino, 26, a store manager from Downers Grove, who came to the game with her sister. “They made an announcement to seek shelter and we decided to leave. Our lives are more important than this,” she said.
Before kickoff Sunday, Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications issued an alert urging Bears fans attending the game to take extra precautions to ensure their safety.
Officials at the OEMC are monitoring the weather and working with the Chicago Bears organization and Soldier Field staff, according to the alert. OEMC staff is inside the stadium’s command center. Soldier Field also has the ability to broadcast messages throughout the stadium.
There is also shelter inside the stadium for fans if necessary, the alert said.
The football game wasn’t thing only thing interrupted by stormy weather. No flights were allowed to leave or enter both O’Hare or Midway airports, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. Flights may be delayed up to an hour at both airports.
And as of 2 p.m., the heavy rains and high winds have left 75,200 people without power in the Chicago area, ComEd spokewoman Noelle Gaffney said.
The Metra Union Pacific Line trains were stopped at 12:30 p.m. Sunday due to high wind warnings, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said. The trains are expected to begin moving again soon.
“Sixty-five degrees in November at 9 a.m. is not typical,” said Romeoville-based weather service meteorologist Ed Fenlon. “Warm moist air and powerful winds are making a stage for tornadoes.”
The weather service has been in contact with the Chicago’s OEMC, the Cook County Homeland Security and Emergency Management office and emergency managers from across northern Illinois, Izzi said.
Light rain is expected to continue into Monday, but the thunderstorms should move out by late afternoon Sunday, he said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)