Severe Midwest storms hits Chicago, Knoxville power

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 5:13 PM
Severe Midwest storms hits Chicago, Knoxville power

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands remained without power in Chicago and surrounding areas on Wednesday, a day after severe weather tore through the Midwest.

Nearly 264,000 customers in Chicago and its suburbs remained in the dark on Wednesday, according to ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez, with some 300,000 outages at the early morning peak.

A slow moving storm system drenched the region and brought large hail and wind gusts over 70 mph to some spots. Tornado warnings were issued for parts of the Midwest ahead of Tuesday's storms.

Early storm reports included four possible tornado sightings in Minnesota and Wisconsin and several reports of funnel clouds, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS said it was not yet clear if the sightings were multiple reports of the same potential twister.

Storm damage teams will be in Blaine and Coon Rapids, Minnesota on Wednesday to assess the damage and determine if there were any tornadoes, spokesman Chris Vaccaro said.

The severe weather hit hardest in Illinois, southeastern Wisconsin up into northern Indiana and southern Michigan, according to AccuWeather.com.

Airlines operating at O'Hare International Airport canceled more than 250 flights due to the storms and some flights were delayed, the Chicago Department of Aviation reported on Wednesday morning.

As the storms track east, the threat for severe weather on Wednesday was expected to move into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Paul Walker.

Residents in Tennessee also felt the wrath of severe weather as thunderstorms and high winds rolled across the region on Tuesday striking most intensely in Knoxville.

Thousands remained without power in that east Tennessee city on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Greg Mccune and Timothy Ghianni; Writing by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton)