Tornado sirens blared in one of the United States' largest cities Monday evening, signaling the start of a long, stormy night across the Midwest and Ohio Valley.
In a week in which Chicago was also dealing with sweltering heat, the Windy City was slammed with storms that unleashed heavy rain, strong winds and potentially a tornado. The National Weather Service is planning to conduct damage surveys Tuesday to determine if a tornado did in fact touch down.
Winds reached a gust of 84 mph at Chicago O'Hare Airport, which provided a host of issues for passengers and employees at the location. The severe weather caught the airport in chaos early Monday evening, as the airport moved passengers to a tornado shelter and issued shelter-in-place protocols. The all-clear was given a short while later, though strong winds approaching 80 mph were detected heading through La Grange Park, Brookfield and Riverside. Nearly 400 flights out of O'Hare were delayed Monday amid the severe weather, according to FlightAware.
Ominous clouds looming over Chicago on Monday evening. (Twitter/@darkpanictwitch)
Thousands of fans at Wigley Field for Monday evening's matchup between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres had to scramble for safety as the tornado-warned storm approached. The game was able to be held after the storm passed, although fans that stayed around to watch the game after the weather were not able to enjoy a home team victory with the Padres beating the Cubs by three runs.
San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish cuts his pregame workout short as a storm that has spawned a tornado warning descends upon Wrigley Field before a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Padres Monday, June 13, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
The tornado-warned storm that rumbled over Chicago was just one of many across the Midwest, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Three separate lines of intense storms charged across the region late Monday into Tuesday with wind gusts surpassing 80 mph. Fort Wayne, Indiana, clocked the highest gust across the region at 98 mph. Damage was reported at the airport in Fort Wayne in the wake of the severe weather.
No fatalities have been reported, but three people are missing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after being swept away in flood waters during Monday's storms, according to The Associated Press.
Over 615,000 electric customers were without power Tuesday morning following the storms, with Ohio accounting for more than half of the outages, according to PowerOutage.us. By midday, the number of power outages had fallen under 500,000.
Counties such as Pike County in southern Ohio had more than 50% of customers without power heading into the late Monday hours. Cincinnati was one location that was hit by the storms, with scenes throughout the area looking gloomy before rainfall began Monday.
Long-lasting outages could become an issue with heat and humidity building over the region through midweek. Excessive heat warnings are in place across the same areas where hundreds of thousands are still without power.
"The power outages are among the greatest impacts from these storms, especially given the intense heat ongoing in much of the country. Most of the impacted areas are expected to see high temperatures in the 90s and perhaps even 100s on Wednesday, and the lack of air conditioning would make this especially dangerous," AccuWeather Meteorologist Andrew Johnson-Levine explained.
A map showing power outages as of Wednesday morning.
After 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, over 74,000 customers were without power in Franklin County, Ohio, where the AccuWeather RealFeel® reached 108 degrees F. About an hour later, the number bumped up to 113,000 customers without power, potentially due to heat taxing the remaining power system in the area. Statewide, over 242,000 customers remained without power as of 4:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
A spokesperson for power provider AEP stated that over 100,000 customers were taken off the power grid in the area order to prevent any more possible damage, with no estimate for restoration as of the early evening hours Tuesday.
In total, over 300 damaging wind reports had been received by the Storm Prediction Center due to the storms, nearly all of which were located between Wisconsin and Virginia.
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