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updated: 8/4/2012 7:54 PM

Cool temps, sun follow storm that delayed Lolapalooza, suburban events

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  • The high winds that blew through Schaumburg along with the drought conditions were too much for this tree. The inner part of the bark was bone dry. The wind cracked the tree like a toothpick.

    The high winds that blew through Schaumburg along with the drought conditions were too much for this tree. The inner part of the bark was bone dry. The wind cracked the tree like a toothpick.
    Submitted photo by Dom DiNello


High winds, rain, thunder and lightning rolled through the suburbs midafternoon Saturday, delaying many outdoor events a couple of hours, displacing residents of two Aurora buildings that were damaged, and causing spotty power outages.

Wind gusts during the storm caused the rubber membrane on the roof of Constitution House apartments, a retirement community at 401 N. Constitution Drive on Aurora's west side, to blow off.

About 94 apartments were affected by water damage, with roughly 80 to 100 people living on the building's fourth through seventh floors being displaced. No one was injured and many moved in with relatives, while some were relocated in vacant units. The Red Cross has been notified to find housing for about 20 people, city officials said.

Elsewhere in Aurora, lightning sparked a small fire after striking the roof of a multiunit building in the 500 block of Hartford Avenue, displacing 17 people as the building's power had to be shut off to put out the fire. It caused roughly $20,000 in damage. No one was injured, Aurora officials said.

And near St. Charles, lightning struck the chimney of a fireplace on Laura Ingalls Wilder Lane in the Fox Mill subdivision.

Lightning also set a condominium at 63 Oak Creek Court in North Aurora on fire around 4 p.m. Saturday. The fire then spread to two adjacent units.

No one lives in the unit the lightning hit, said Capt. Todd Zies of the North Aurora Fire Protection District.

The lightning struck the roof, and flames then spread to the other units. They sustained mostly smoke and water damage, he said.

Residents were able to return to their homes Saturday evening. One firefighter became overheated and was taken to Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora. Firefighters from the Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles fire departments also fought the fire.

In Chicago, Lollapalooza organizers suspended the giant music festival for several hours, with performances resuming around 7 p.m.

Tour of Elk Grove race officials pushed back the start of the second stage of the Men's Pro 3-day race from 4 p.m. to about 6 p.m. The race was reduced from 10 laps to seven laps.

Races at Arlington Park also were delayed while jockeys, horses and spectators waited out the storm. Everyone was brought into the building when the storm hit. The eighth race of the day, which was to start at 4:30 p.m., was delayed but back on track at 5:04 p.m., racetrack officials said.

"This was the eighth year in a row I've been here on my birthday, but the first time it has rained," said Keith Moritz of Hoffman Estates.

The McHenry County Fair was shut down for 90 minutes around 3:45 p.m. Two poles in the poultry tent were snapped in half by high winds and heavy rain, said spokesman Dan Linneman.

Among other events, the Summer Daze festival in downtown Warrenville and North Aurora Days both shut down as the storm moved through.

According to the NOAA weather station at Aurora Municipal Airport near Sugar Grove, the temperature dropped 18 degrees to 71 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. while 1.53 inches of rain fell and wind gusted up to 36 mph. DuPage Airport in West Chicago reported winds of up to 57 mph, but only a trace of rain.

Daily Herald staff writers Larissa Chinwah and Marie Wilson, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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