Greater Chicago was assailed by a major cluster of tornadoes and thunderstorms, resulting in widespread power outages and significant disruptions to air travel. The unprecedented weather events saw at least eight tornadoes touching down in four northeastern Illinois counties, including four in Cook County, where Chicago is situated. The calamity prompted officials to sound tornado sirens and urge people to take cover.
These severe weather conditions forced O’Hare and Midway airports, two of the city’s primary air traffic hubs, to suspend all operations. As a result, travelers found themselves scrambling for safety, with many left stranded. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that all commercial flights to and from the airports were either grounded or delayed.
The impact of the storm led to the cancellation of over 300 flights from O’Hare and another 32 from Midway, according to FlightAware. Air traffic controllers off-site had to take over as the on-site controllers had to evacuate the towers at the airports. The FAA stated that normal operations resumed after the storm passed.
The storm also resulted in substantial property damage, with trees uprooted and roofs ripped off in several locations, including the Cook County town of Countryside and La Grange. A unique spectacle was witnessed in Saint Charles, Illinois, where twin tornadoes were spotted touching down simultaneously, a rare occurrence captured on video by storm chasers. The National Weather Service issued two tornado warnings for Chicago, urging residents to find shelter.