Severe thunderstorms hit Chicago area, more than 400 flights canceled

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Severe storms on Wednesday caused more than 400 flights to be canceled and hour-long delays at Chicago airports.

A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect through about 7 p.m. Wednesday for northern Illinois, including the Chicago area, as well as parts of southern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service.

As of 6:35 p.m., 396 flights were canceled at O’Hare International Airport and 21 were canceled at Midway International Airport, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Delays were estimated to be about 60–70 minutes at both airports.

Thunderstorms were spotted in the Chicago area in the early afternoon, prompting a flood advisory in the city and neighboring suburbs, according to the weather service. The affected counties included Cook, McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, Ogle, Boone and Lake.

Heavy downpours, large hail and damaging winds were expected to continue throughout the night in thunderstorms across north central and northeast Illinois, as well as northwest Indiana, according to the weather service.

Half-dollar-sized hail, winds reaching 65 mph and a limited tornado risk were all possible in areas hit by thunderstorms Wednesday night, the weather service said.

People were advised to avoid driving vehicles through flooded roadways, caused by the storm’s “torrential rainfall,” the weather service said.

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