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Authorities say thunderstorms, high winds caused heavy damage in Coal City south of Chicago

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CHICAGO — Thunderstorms accompanied by high winds and at least one tornado damaged homes, uprooted trees and injured at least seven people across northern Illinois on Monday.

Particularly hard hit was Coal City, a community of about 5,000 residents south of Chicago, where the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down.

Lt. David Doerfler of the Coal City Fire Protection District said that in addition to structural damage, roads in the city were blocked by fallen trees and power lines.

Authorities were canvassing the area to account for all residents, Grundy County Emergency Management director Joe Schroeder told WGN-TV early Tuesday. He said there were at least two confirmed injuries and there could be more.

"We are early in the process of determining the level of damage," he said, adding much of it was to residential areas and at least 30 buildings were affected. A shelter was opened at a local high school.

Across the state, storm damage was reported from Jo Daviees County in western Illinois to Grundy County in the east.

The National Weather Service reported high winds caused damage near the Lee County community of Sublette.

Lee County Sheriff John Simonton said firefighters and other emergency workers responded to reports of damage in Woodhaven Association, a private camping resort.

There was lots of flooding, and many trees down, including some that fell on association homes.

One person there was hospitalized with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening, and four others described as "walking wounded" were either treated on scene or refused treatment, said Sublette assistant Fire Chief Kevin Schultz. The injury total could still increase, Schultz said.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency was gathering information on the extent of the storm damage.

"We have several counties that have been impacted by the storm," said spokeswoman Patti Thompson. "We will be standing by all night in the event there is a request for state help."

Meanwhile, the weather service late Monday issued a flash flood emergency warning for Kankakee County after officials reported all the county's roads were covered with water and debris.

"We issue flash flood warnings when there is a significant risk to life and property," said meteorologist Casey Sullivan, who estimated areas in northern Kankakee County received up to 4 ½ inches of water, while southern areas received up to two inches.

Earlier, high winds in Jo Daviees County lifted the roof off a Menominee, Illinois, fire station.

Menominee-Dunleith Fire Department Capt. Al Fleege told the Times-Herald in nearby Dubuque, Iowa, two of the three vehicles in the building were severely damaged by the collapse. There were no injuries.

Fleege says the 24-member volunteer department has adequate supplies and manpower to address any emergency.

Commonwealth Edison reported early Tuesday 14,000 customers were without power as a result of the storm. Ameren was reporting 1,000 customers lost power.

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