The storms had moved east out of the Chicago area of of 9:30 p.m. and a severe thunderstorm watch that had been in effect until 1 a.m. Thursday for Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will and Kankakee counties in northeat Illinois and three other counties was called off.
At the same time, Lake, northwest Cook, southeastern McHenry and Kane counties were under a flash flood warming.
The fast-moving evening storms caused delays of more than an hour at O’Hare International Airport and up to 45 minutes at Midway Airport, as officials held departing flights and taxied aircrafts, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Web site.
At least one flight, a United Airlines flight destined to arrive in Chicago this evening from Philadelphia, was diverted to Rockford to avoid the storm. Passengers were told the flight would continue once the thunderstorms eased.
Officials with Comonwealth Edison reported just over 7,800 total customers without electricity in the Chicago area. As of 8 p.m., Chicago only had about 170 customers without power, according to ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez. The bulk of the outages were in the south and north regions outside the city, who saw 3,700 and 3,600 outages, respectively. Another 375 customers were without power in the western region, Hernandez said.
ComEd crews were already out in the field, working to restore power, Hernandez added.
At 2 p.m., the temperature hit 87, just shy of the record high of 89 set in 1982. Tuesday's high of 90 beat a record set in 1896.
Storms started to move midafternoon, fueled by the unseasonable warm and moist air mass. There is also a chance that dense fog could develop within a couple miles of the lakefront this afternoon, or more likely tonight, the weather service said. Near Hebron, in McHenry County, a weather service spotter recorded wind gusts of 60 mph about 3:40 p.m.; near Spring Grove, in Elgin and in several other areas, 1-inch hail fell.
In West Dundee, 2 inches of rain fell in an hour between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., according to the Weather Service.
Flooded streets and downed power lines and trees are being reported in northeastern Kane County and areas in southern McHenry County after a hail and thunderstorm moved through the area.
Emergency crews were also responding to reports of a lightning strike to a house in the Carpentersville area and a water rescue near Gilberts.
For the latest radar, weather warnings and forecast go to the Chicago Weather Center.
Freelance reporter Andrea Brown contributed