Chicago area hit by severe storms

More than 6.6 million people Chicago and the surrounding region, including parts of Indiana, were under tornado watches and warnings Tuesday night as strong storms hit the area, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm prompted officials at O’Hare International Airport to briefly ground all outbound flights and suspend rail service Tuesday night, while people at the airport were asked to “be cautious.”

NBC News affiliate in Chicago shared video hundreds of passengers packing into the airport for shelter.

An early picture of damage from the storms began to emerge Tuesday night as officials worked to assess damage and confirm tornadoes in several communities west of Chicago. The threat of additional tornadoes overnight moved east into Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. Late into the night, tornado warnings were issued for parts of Michigan and Illinois. Tornado watches have been issued for Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio until 6 a.m

National Weather Service confirmed that there are reports of at least one tornado touch down in Henry County in western Illinois. Pictures on social networks one Henry County community showed flattened metal buildings and woodwork strewn across a brick wall.

The weather service reported at least four other tornado sightings, including three near the city of DeKalb, about 60 miles west of Chicago.

Around 10:30 p.m. local time, a tornado watch in northeastern Illinois was downgraded to a wind warning as the tornado threat moved southeast across southern Illinois and Indiana and Kentucky, including Louisville. Around 10:45 p.m., the National Weather Service announced that the severe weather threat had ended for Chicago. Rough 9.8 million people in these areas were under a tornado watch late Tuesday night.

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