CHICAGO (CBS) — Strong winds blowing debris.
That was the scene in Chicago’s Rogers Park as a tornado ripped through the neighborhood. The tornado that ripped through Rogers Park left neighbors with some of the worst storm damage they’ve seen in more than a decade.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole spent the day checking out the damage and talking with neighbors who banded together to clean it up.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Looking at the images, imagine the force it took to uproot a tree, block the street for most of the last day and then it slammed onto a nearby car. And at a time when we need it, the response shows how Chicagoans come together in a crisis.
Block by block, Rogers Park echoes with the sounds of clean-up after a tornado touched down on the far North Side. According to the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, an F1 tornado with 107 mph winds touched down in Rogers Park.
“Jarvis (Avenue) bore the brunt of this storm,” said Rogers Park resident Lloyd Peters. “It was insane.”
Eighty mile-per-hour winds uprooted tree after massive trees, sending them crashing onto cars, completely blocking streets below.
“It’s pretty bad,” said Rogers Park resident Chase Sachs.
But the power of Mother Nature didn’t just cause damage, it also exposed the neighborhood’s sense of community.
“We came together, as neighbors like we usually do,” Peters said. “Rogers Park is a beautiful place.”
With chainsaws and rolled up sleeves in a pounding heat, neighbors pitched in to get the job done.
“It started yesterday,” Sachs said. “We were just clearing the sidewalks first, and then this morning people started clearing everything else.”
“You don’t have to ask any questions,” Peters said. “If you need something, we got it. That’s how we stick together as a neighborhood.”
A social media blast form the nonprofit My Block My Hood My City attracted over 50 volunteers, proving the sense of community lives citywide.
Nathan Cordero of My Block My Hood My City said “we had people come from the South Side, West Side, all over just to help.”
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said the downed trees also impacted underground water systems and the full extent of the damage is not yet clear.
“This definitely hit our physical infrastructure very hard,” Hadden said. “And that’s work as a city we need to follow up on.”
But in the moment, as the city deals with COVID-19 and social unrest, in Rogers Park, the fabric of the neighborhood is helping them get by.
“Even though we are wearing masks, I can still tell people are smiling,” Peters said. “People just want to help.”
Ald. Hadden said it may be Sunday until ComEd can fully restore power to all those in the neighborhood impacted. As for the city, she admits it has a lot of work ahead of it when it comes to assessing possible long term damage and possible assistance programs for those who saw their property severely damaged.
Throughout the city, OEMC said there were 8,859 calls from 311 and 599 calls for 911 reporting downed wires and 375 calls came in for downed poles