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216K without power after storms rake Chicago area

A pair of severe thunderstorms rumbled through the Chicago area late Monday night, knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of people and increasing the risk of flooding into early Tuesday.

ComEd, which serves most of northern and northeastern Illinois, said about 216,000 customers were still without power as of 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, after a wave of storms that dumped nearly four inches of rain in some areas. As many as 372,000 ComEd customers had been without power after the storms, according to the utility company.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. listed 42,734 outages as of 11:30 p.m. Monday night, with “the numbers continuing to rise,” NIPSCO Spokesperson Nick Meyer said.

A flood warning is in effect for the Chicago area — including Cook, DuPage, Will and Lake counties — until 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Trained spotters measured 3.85 inches of rain in north suburban Highland Park that fell between 6 p.m. and midnight, according to the weather service. About 1.5 inches fell in southwest suburban Oak Lawn, with about two-thirds of an inch falling in a span of 20 minutes during the storms, forecasters said.

Traffic on Interstate 55 was affected in the southwest suburbs as well, with spotters reporting at least a foot of standing water near County Line Road in Burr Ridge about 3 a.m. Up to 3 feet of water was standing at midnight in parts of the interstate between Central Avenue and Kingery Highway, with traffic passable in only the right lane, according to NWS recordings.

The second wave of storms that barreled through the area about 10 p.m. spurred a tornado warning for southwest Will and northeast Cook counties. That warning expired at 10:30 p.m. and there were no confirmed tornado sightings, according to the weather service. A severe thunderstorm watch and warning were in place for Cook County through most of the night, but were called off late Monday.

In northwest Indiana, 86 mph winds were reported with circular coud movement in some areas, though no actual tornado touchdowns were confirmed, meteorologists said.

Airlines at O’Hare International Airport canceled more than 400 flights Monday, and other inbound and outbound flights saw delays averaging two hours, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation about 8 p.m. At Midway International Airport, many flights were delayed two hours or longer. Southwest Airlines had canceled the majority of its scheduled flights in and out of the airport.

Tuesday is expected to see highs near 83 degrees and mostly sunny skies, according to weather service forecasts.

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