(STMW) -A tornado touched down in a rural area of Will County on Monday evening as a powerful round of thunderstorms brought heavy rain and flooded streets to the Chicago area.
The tornado made contact with the ground about 7:35 p.m. in a rural area of Will County near the Kankakee County border, National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi said.
The rural area is east of the small town of Symerton, Izzi said. Further details were not yet known, and authorities could not immediately say whether any structures were hit.
Closer to downtown, heavy rain has flooded parts of the Eisenhower Expressway and the western branch of the CTA Blue Line, as well as viaducts throughout the city and suburbs.
The CTA Blue Line was suspended between the Forest Park and Cicero stations for several hours because of standing water, the transit agency said.
A tornado warning was issued earlier Monday afternoon after a storm near Hillside showed rotation, but the warning was called off about 5:11 p.m., the weather service said. Strong winds and heavy rain are the main threats to the area now, according to forecasters.Both directions of the Eisenhower Expressway are flooded between Des Plaines and Harlem, and emergency crews are headed there as of about 7 p.m., Illinois State Police said.
Some locations in the city of Chicago are already starting to flood, emergency officials said Monday evening.
Several viaducts and the intersection of Archer Avenue and 47th Street in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side are not passable, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
The viaduct in the 4600 block of West Division is also flooded, the fire department said.
A distress call from a boat on Lake Michigan also reported a water spout about five miles east of Hyde Park, the weather service said. The boaters were all fine, officials told the NWS.
An official National Weather Service observer also spotted a funnel cloud about 5 p.m. near Midway Airport on the city’s south side.The city of Chicago has canceled all outdoor events in Millennium Park tonight, including the Downtown Sound concert series, according to the park’s official Twitter feed.
In the suburbs, a trained weather spotter reported three feet of standing water near the intersection of Ann and Joliet streets in West Chicago in DuPage County.
Flash flooding in west suburban Aurora stranded a car near Illinois Avenue and Constitution Drive, where 1.5 feet of water was flowing on the roadway, the weather service said.
Sugar Grove in Kane County saw a full inch of rain in just 19 minutes. Closer to the city, west suburban Oak Park experienced 1.25 inches of water in just 45 minutes.
Several thoroughfares in Elmhurst were also closed because of flooding, including parts of Route 83, North Avenue at I-290, York Street, Spring Road and several side streets.
The entire northern Illinois area remains under a flash flood warning until 1 a.m. The National Weather Service warned this round of storms could bring heavy rain, flooding, wind gusts of up to 60 mph and frequent lightning.
Airlines at O’Hare International Airport canceled about 430 flights as of 3:30 p.m., while most flights were being delayed 30 minutes or more, according to the city Dept. of Aviation.
At Midway Airport, about two dozen flights had been canceled and some flights were running 35 minutes late or more, according to the department. Travelers should contact their airlines before heading to the airports.
The weather service said scattered storms will “likely grow more numerous” across the area this evening, with the area of heaviest activity moving south overnight and ending north of I-80 in the pre-dawn hours.
But before then as the slow-moving front approaches and crosses the area, “the atmosphere is extremely moist and and storms that form will have the potential to produce torrential downpours” with a possibility of of 2 or more inches of rain per hour, according to the weather service.
The weather service warns that the Kankakee, Illinois and Iroquis rivers will remain in flood stage.The storms could also pack frequent lighting strikes and isolated wind gusts of up to 60 mph.
The chance of storms will diminish and it could actually be sunny on Tuesday, but there could be periodic storms from Tuesday night straight through the weekend, the weather service said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2015. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)