Milwaukee – A child and two men were missing Tuesday after being swept into a drainage ditch in Milwaukee the day before, authorities said, after severe thunderstorms dumped torrential rain and damaging winds across a wide area of the Midwest and parts of the South.
The crew resumed the search Tuesday morning for an 11-year-old boy, as well as two men, aged 34 and 37, who entered the water in an attempt to rescue the child Monday night.
Firefighters focused their search Tuesday on three connected tunnels that carry water to the KenkiniK River. Officials said search crews did not enter the tunnels on Monday night due to the hazardous conditions and instead sent a drone inside to try to locate the three. The names of the missing were not immediately released. Police said the three knew each other, but gave no details.
The waters were deep and fast-flowing in the wake of the severe storms, which also caused damage in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Storms also packed Vibrio early Tuesday as they slammed into West Virginia, with many roads closed due to fallen trees and power lines.
According to PowerOutage.us, which tracks outages nationwide, more than 400,000 electric customers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia were without service Tuesday afternoon.
The storms came as temperatures and humidity rose in states stretching from parts of the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and east to the Carolinas. More than 100 million people faced a combination of heat warnings, overheating warnings and excessive heat hours as of Wednesday after record temperatures over the weekend in parts of the West and Southwest.
A thunderstorm in Illinois with winds exceeding 80 mph (129 km/h) toppled trees and damaged power lines Monday evening, leaving a trail of damage throughout the Chicago area and in northwest Indiana, the National Weather Service said.
The Weather Service said several reports of wind damage were reported along the storm’s path, with Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport recording gusts of 84 mph (135 km/h). Hurricane sirens sounded in Chicago as the storm erupted, and crews were assessing the damage Tuesday to determine if any tornadoes had fallen.
In Bellwood in the western suburbs of Chicago, village officials said winds have stripped the roof of an apartment building, injuring a young woman who was rushed to hospital after being hit by falling debris but is expected to be fine.
“We just heard people screaming that the roof is off, get out, get out,” Larronda Neal, a resident, told WLS-TV.
In northwestern Indiana, the Weather Service reported storm damage in the Ogden Dunes and said 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in hail hit the town of Lake County, New Chicago, on Monday night.
In northeastern Indiana, the weather service said a 98 mph gust of wind was recorded at Fort Wayne International Airport, the strongest winds ever recorded by the airport, beating the previous record of 91 mph set on June 30, 2012. Storm damage Extensive tree fall was reported in Fort Wayne, as winds tore siding and isolation of the hangar of SkyWest, an aircraft maintenance company southwest of the Fort Wayne Airport’s terminal and runways, exposing planes indoors, WANE-TV reported.
Thunderstorm clusters in the lower Great Lakes region met the criteria to be considered derecho, the National Weather Service tweeted Tuesday. A storm is a widespread, straight wind storm associated with severe, fast-moving thunderstorms.
In northwest Virginia, three firefighters were taken to a hospital for evaluation after responding to an electrical fire early Tuesday in Wheeling, a city 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, in a news release. Two firefighters were shocked when a power line fell on the roof of a building that caught fire during the storm. A third firefighter was injured in the fall.