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Southwest Suburbs Battered By Storms, Tornado

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(CBS) – The Chicago area was beset by a fast-moving storm Sunday that temporarily halted the Bears game at Soldier Field and downed power lines and trees.

There were confirmed reports of a tornado touching down near Manhattan, in Will County.

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 injuries, 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.

The village of Diamond was not so fortunate. Violent winds of a tornado crushed the local tobacco shop like a cigarette box. Owner Muhammad Ali ran for his life and took cover in a church.

The twister cut a two-mile path through a three-mile-long town, crushing the canopy of a Shell gas station and tosssing around RV’s at a dealership like tin cans.

In the Sterling Estates subdivision, the winds ripped off roofs.

A shelter has been established in a Methodist church in Coal City, but authorities say most of the displaced are staying with friends and relatives. School has been cancelled Monday in the Coal City school district, which includes the students from diamond.

Other areas of the state felt deeper devastation from tornadoes. At least one person died in the central Illinois community of Washington and several were injured; four others died in southern Illinois in separate incidents.

While the Bears-Ravens game started on time — just after noon — play was stopped and the seating area was cleared until 2:25 p.m. The National Football League makes the decision about any game delays, officials at Soldier Field said.

The football game wasn’t thing only thing interrupted by stormy weather. Flights were disrupted at Chicago’s airports.

And as of 2 p.m., the heavy rains and high winds had 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.”

Light rain is expected to continue into Monday.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire. (Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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