Destroyer Dritcho blows Chicago with winds of over 70 mph. Over a million people are losing their power in the Upper Midwest

A devastating storm, or fast-moving violent gust of winds, struck the Chicago area on Monday afternoon, unleashing devastating winds that brought down trees and cut off electricity. In Iowa, where winds exceeded 100 mph, the damage was more severe.

Early Monday afternoon, the Weather Agency's National Storm Prediction Center released a rare "high risk" case for heavy thunderstorm monitoring in eastern Iowa, northern Illinois, far northwest Indiana and southern Wisconsin. The report warned that "devastating winds of up to 100 miles per hour" were possible after violent storms swept eastern Nebraska and western Iowa earlier in the day.

By Monday evening, 1.5 million people had lost power in the wake of storms from eastern Nebraska via Indiana, as the storms also caused wind damage. By 8 p.m. CST, storms had reached western Ohio but were weakening.

Iowa was hardest hit by the kneeling storm complex. Several sites recorded wind gusts exceeding 100 mph, while storms between 75 and 85 mph were common. The storm diminished marginally as it headed east, but Chicago's Midway Airport recorded a storm of 73 mph.

As of 8:45 PM, the Doppler radar indicated that the storm complex extended from Toledo to Dayton, Ohio, just west of Louisville. Compared to several hours ago, storms have lost a great deal of their intensity, and most of the wind gusts are below severe levels. However, severe thunderstorm hours remained in effect from western Ohio creasing across western Kentucky to the far southeast of Missouri until midnight.

Chicago experienced its strongest winds at around 4 pm. When, in addition to the 72 mph storm in Midway, O'Hare International Airport experienced a gust of 62 mph, and the Weatherbug Station in Lincoln Square, Chicago, gusts of up to 85 mph were recorded.

The Weather Service tweeted that "much of northern Illinois has pockets of damage from fallen trees, debris and power lines blocking roads" after the worst has passed.

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