Storms knock out power in Michiana, wreak havoc in Chicago, northern Michigan


By: Jon Zimney

The severe storms that swept through the Michiana early Monday morning, August 3, caused power outages throughout the area.

About 2,000 Indiana Michigan Power customers in Michiana were left in the dark at the height of the outages overnight. Crews were working to restore power at about 2 p.m.

As of 8:49 a.m., 311 I&M customers in Elkhart County and 630 customers in Berrien and Cass counties in Michigan were still without power.

Wind gusts of 70 miles per hour and quarter-size hail were reported in the hardest-hit areas.

The storms hit hardest late Sunday about 50 miles north of Chicago, where National Weather Service Meteorologist Ricky Castro said there were reports that a tornado touched down near Grayslake.

Chris Covelli, a detective with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, said there was extensive damage and police have closed numerous roads in unincorporated areas because of downed trees and power lines.

A 35-year-old man has been named as the person killed when a tent collapsed during a brief storm at a suburban Chicago festival.

Police identified Steven Nincic, a resident of the suburb of Wood Dale where the incident happened on Sunday afternoon, as the person who died.

They said 15 people were injured and transported to local hospitals. Several other slightly injured people were treated at the scene and released, according to a statement from the Wood Dale police department posted on Facebook.

Witnesses said a strong wind gust picked the tent up and slammed it down to the ground on some of the crowd.

In Michigan, storms carrying strong winds and rain cut power, snapped trees and even knocked over at least one recreational trailer on the Mackinac Bridge.

The bridge connecting the peninsulas was temporarily closed at one point Sunday as winds hit 65 mph. Thousands of power outages were reported in the Grand Rapids and Traverse City areas. A free outdoor movie at a Traverse City film festival was scratched.

Storms rolled into Michigan’s thumb region, and forecasters say southeastern Michigan could be vulnerable to high winds throughout the evening.

The National Weather Service warned people about dangerous swimming conditions up and down the Lake Michigan coast, with waves as high as 6 feet. Near Lake Huron, campers had to dodge falling branches at Harrisville State Park.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.