Quick Storm Brings 80 MPH Winds; Damaged Trees and Power Lines in Arlington Heights and Northwest Suburbs

VIDEO: Downed lines and downed trees bring “All Circuits Are Busy” message on calls to 9-1-1 after a severe thunderstorm hit Arlington Heights Friday about 2:45 p.m.

Storms hit the northwest suburbs, west suburbs and northern suburbs — passing through northern Arlington Heights about 2:45 p.m. Friday. With a Severe Thunderstorm Warning in effect, a thin storm line with a lot of punch brought high winds, lightning and brief, heavy rain. Winds gusts were reported as high as 80 mph at the most severe point of the storm.

Hawthorne Street just west of Dryden Avenue …

Power outages affected about 113,000 Commonwealth Edison customers across the northern Chicagoland area. About 88,000 customers affected with power outages were located in the north and northwest suburbs.

Most of the power outages occurred in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect and Palatine where trees were uprooted or large branches fell on power lines. According to the National Weather Service, about an inch of rain fell in 20 minutes in Riverwoods, east of Buffalo Grove. Much of downtown Arlington Heights was without power. The Chase Bank drive thru was closed early and several restaurants had lost power for Friday night.

Northwest corner of Evergreen Avenue and South Street …

See Storm photos 09.05.2014 …

As the storm approached, students at Thomas Middle School and South Middle Schools, were moved to their homerooms and the gym just before the dismissal time of 2:45 p.m. and were not allowed to leave the buildings until the storm passed. Students at John Hersey High School were also kept inside the school building until the storm passed. An area along South Street near South Middle School was especially hard hit. A well-cared-for Linden tree at the northwest corner of Evergreen Avenue and South Street was uprooted and fell from west to east. The Linden tree fell into power lines and caused a power line to arc for a prolonged period on South Street just west of Evergreen Avenue. The arcing electricity melted and burned asphalt and heat-drilled a 2-4 foot hole in the street. Three ComEd crews de-energized the lines, worked to trim branches away from downed lines, discarded the downed lines, and installed news lines. Then they restored electricity, and moved on to their next assignment.

VIDEO at Evergreen Avenue and South Street developing …

At Haddow Avenue and Hawthorne Street at least two trees had severe damage. One tree broke at the base, bringing down the whole tree along with a bald-faced hornets’ nest. Neighbor called public works to warn them about the nest. A public works crew responded with spray foam to kill the hornets in the nest before a tree removal crew would arrive later. Another tree nearby brought power lines across Hawthorne Street. A large branch fell across Hawthorne Street with power lines also across Hawthorne Street. With barricades at the street, several motorists drove up on the corner parkway lawn on top of downed power lines to get around the barricades.

Arlington Heights was hardest hit between Oakton Street and Central Road. The neighborhood just north of Recreation Park to about Euclid Avenue and west of Douglas Avenue was especially hard hit with large branches, whole trees and half of mature trees down from cracks or uprootings. East central Arlington Heights near Forrest Avenue and near Euclid Avenue and Gibbons Avenue also had several trees damaged. Areas near Stratford Avenue and Gibbons Avenue south of Euclid Avenue were peppered with small tree debris.

In Des Plaines, high winds at about 3:00 p.m. collapsed walls at a Chick-Fil-A building under construction at 1500 E. Rand Road. Four construction workers were trapped under bricks, and at least one firefighter was injured. Paramedics transported four construction workers to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

In Schaumburg, at least three walls of a building under construction at the northwest corner of Schaumburg Road and Barrington Road were blown down by high winds in Schaumburg, but no injuries were report.

Tree branches of all sizes were down on almost every block in most northwest and north suburbs. Clean-up will extend through the weekend.

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