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Wrigley fans evacuate for big Chicago storm

August 05, 2008|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — A powerful storm led to tornado warnings in downtown Chicago and the evacuation of fans from the stands at Chicago's Wrigley Field on Monday night.

The National Weather Service had not confirmed any tornado touchdowns. But it said trained spotters had reported high-rotation winds in DeKalb and Kane counties in northeastern Illinois. Widespread damage to trees and power lines was reported there.

Fans at the Chicago Cubs-Houston Astros game were evacuated from Wrigley Field's stands into the stadium concourse as tornado sirens blared throughout the city.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Bob Sejnoha of Algonquin, Ill., who was at the game.

Passengers at O'Hare International Airport were evacuated into the lower levels of the complex's buildings. All flights were temporarily halted.

"It was pretty cramped down there. The whole terminal was down there," said George Wickens, 50, of London, who was trying to travel to Florida with his family. "I don't think anything will be getting out of Chicago tonight."

The storms did not cause any damage or injuries at O'Hare or Midway Airport, said Chicago Department of Aviation spokesman Gregg Cunningham. More than 350 flights were canceled at O'Hare.

No injuries were reported elsewhere, but the storms caught many by surprise. Warning sirens sent pedestrians scrambling for shelter.

Security guards at the Ogilvie Train Station, off the Chicago River, ushered people away from large windows and into the middle of the building.

"The lightning between the buildings was looking ominous," said Michaela Nelson, 58, as she brushed her dripping-wet hair at the station. "And then it just poured."

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