Midwest storms leave thousands without power
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses remained without power in the Midwest on Wednesday, a day after severe weather tore through the region and parts of the South.
A slow-moving storm system drenched the central part of the nation, bringing large hail and winds of up to 100 miles per hour from Chicago to Dallas, grounding planes, stranding passengers and delaying commutes in Chicago.
About 220,000 customers in Chicago and its suburbs were without power Wednesday afternoon, down from 430,000. Many could remain so for at least another day.
"We anticipate 90 percent will be restored by midnight tomorrow," said ComEd spokeswoman Tabrina Davis.
In Mount Prospect, a Chicago suburb, large trees snapped or were uprooted, and roofs were damaged, according to the National Weather Service. "This damage is consistent with straight line winds of 90 to 100 mph," the service said.
Commuters on Metra trains in the Chicago area experienced delays due to fallen trees and branches on tracks, as well as power outages that knocked out signals.
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.
The severe weather hit hardest in Illinois, southeastern Wisconsin up into northern Indiana and southern Michigan, according to AccuWeather.com.
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 weather service.
The agency said it was not yet clear if the sightings were multiple reports of the same potential twister.
Storm damage teams were in Blaine and Coon Rapids, Minnesota on Wednesday to assess the damage and determine if there were any tornadoes, spokesman Chris Vaccaro said.
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.
Further south in Dallas more than 22,000 customers were without power after storms shattered a rain record set in 1926, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The severe weather is set to continue as high temperatures are expected to reach triple digits in Dallas and other areas of Texas and nearby states in the coming days.
Areas in Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Vermont and New York remain at risk from flooding, and thunderstorms, hail, and strong wind are forecasted across the country, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(Reporting by Timothy Ghianni; Writing by Mary Wisniewski, Lauren Keiper and Molly O'Toole; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)
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