Forecasters confirm 8 tornadoes in Wednesday storms

At least three tornadoes touched down in downstate and north central Illinois Wednesday night while storms grounded hundreds of flights and knocked out power to more than 5,000 customers in the southwest, south west and northwest suburbs.

- At least eight tornadoes touched down during a series of powerful storms Wednesday evening across north-central and northeast Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.

That number could still go up as crews continue to assess the damage, forecasters said Thursday evening.

The two most powerful twisters were categorized as EF-2, with winds of about 115 mph. One swept through Pontiac and the other from Marseilles to Seneca, where four people were hurt, forecasters said. No other injuries were reported.

The other confirmed tornadoes touched down in Cissna Park, West Brooklyn, Troy Grove and Mazon, as well as Ottawa, where two separate funnel clouds reached the ground, according to the weather service.

“Given the reports of tornado touchdowns across north-central Illinois last night, we are fortunate things are not worse and thankful there were no fatalities,” a Thursday statement from Gov. Rauner said. “Diana and I are thinking of those who were injured or suffered property damage in the storms and send our prayers to you.”

The storms knocked out power for about 5,000 people Wednedsay night, according to ComEd. As of Thursday evening, about 400 people were still in the dark in Cook and Kankakee counties. Less than 100 outages were reported in La Salle and Livingston counties.

The severe weather forced airlines to cancel hundreds of flights from Wednesday night into Thursday, but the city’s Department of Aviation reported minimal delays and cancelations at O’Hare and Midway as of 10:30 a.m.

Temperatures this weekend will warm up, with highs in the mid-to-high 80s Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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