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West Chicago Neighborhood Hit Hard By Weather

LAUREN CHOOLJIAN, BYLINE: I'm Lauren Chooljian. I'm in West Chicago. And I'm standing behind what's normally a very beautiful park, I'm told. But now there are hundreds of tree branches down and cars keep coming by, over and over again, to swing by, see what the damage is. And frankly, a lot of them can't believe it.

ANITA KOCH: I lived right across the street from here.

CHOOLJIAN: That's Anita Koch. She now lives a few towns over and the sight of the park brings her to tears.

KOCH: I loved this park. I walked every morning and I walked past here and this park was absolutely beautiful. And I had to come check it out. And I wanted to check on my old neighbors too.

CHOOLJIAN: Her neighbors were fine, but the park isn't doing so well.

ERIC ELFSTROM: And this is really good compared to yesterday. You should have seen it yesterday, the street - every single street was impassable.

CHOOLJIAN: Eric Elfstrom and his son live just a few blocks north. They're worried the damage will affect the big Fourth of July celebration that's usually held right here.

ELFSTROM: There's still lots of trees standing, obviously. But man, there's a lot gone.

CHOOLJIAN: Crews have been removing branches and debris all over this area. Sunday afternoon saw quite the combination of 90 mile per hour winds and wild thunderstorms. The damage in Kim DiPirros' yard is extensive.


KIM DIPIRROS: I can't even see my grass. It's all covered with limbs and trunks that are so big that we can't even haul off ourselves.

CHOOLJIAN: And then there's the sweltering heat. Temperatures in the Chicago region don't seem to want to drop below 90 any day soon. Some people, like the DiPirros, have generators running at full speed. You can hear them all around West Chicago.

DIPIRROS: You have to be lucky to have one. Because it's going to be 95 and some of these folks across the way, they don't have one. And if you go to Menards right now, you're not going to find one.

CHOOLJIAN: Residents expect several more days of dangerous heat.

For NPR news, I'm Lauren Chooljian, in Chicago.


Lauren comes to us from member station WBEZ. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lauren is NHPR’s Politics and Policy reporter for the State of Democracy project.