Residents trapped as tornado rips up homes in Chicago
A tornado destroyed several homes near Chicago late on Monday, injuring some people and leaving others trapped, besides forcing the closure of a highway, weather and rescue officials said, in addition to snapping power links to thousands of homes.
Emergency responders in the small town of Coal City, about 60 miles (100 km) south of Chicago, reported that homes were destroyed by the storm, said Joe Schroeder, director of the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency.
He could not give immediate details of the extent of damage or injuries, however.
At least three homes had been heavily damaged in Monday night's storm, Brittany Halliday, daughter of Coal City Mayor Terry Halliday, told a regional newspaper, the Herald-News.
"There are some houses that are no longer there," she added. "There are (boat) trailers all over the place. It's just a mess."
Traffic on a nearby highway was blocked because of fallen power lines, an Illinois State Police dispatcher said, adding that three truck tractors had overturned there.
At least 19,000 customers in the area had been left without power, utility Commonwealth Edison Co. said.
A "very damaging tornado" had struck the region, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Chicago said.
Reports of damage were also coming in from the village of Sublette, some 70 miles (113 km) west of Coal City, weather officials said.
They had earlier warned of severe thunderstorms in the area, and alerted nearby cities against the threat of flash floods.
In neighboring Michigan, five people were rescued from damaged buildings after a tornado hit the city of Lansing on Monday afternoon, the Lansing State Journal newspaper said.