Lloyd Peters used to awaken in the cooling shade of a 100-year-old oak tree.
But now his mornings begin in a blaze of unfiltered sunlight, and his apartment — on the top floor of a Roger’s Park three-flat — is so hot he turns on the air-conditioning, even when outdoor temperatures are in the 70s.
The tree that cooled Peters’ building is gone now, felled by Monday’s storm, along with so many of the stately oaks and maples that sheltered his historic neighborhood.
“Walking through this neighborhood on a sunny day, there’s a night-and-day difference,” said Peters, 34, a delivery driver. “The sun is just beating down, and there’s just the depression that comes with seeing all the trees snapped.”
The Chicago region is still assessing the damage caused by a major storm Monday, but the city has received 4,000 emergency calls about tree damage, officials say, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County report that thousands of additional trees have been seriously damaged. Local experts said they don’t yet know if any trees of historic significance were felled, but somewhat younger trees in the 150- to 200-year-old range were among those harmed or destroyed by the storm.
Chicago’s deputy commissioner for the Bureau of Forestry, Malcolm Whiteside Jr. said crews were working 16-hour days to remove the debris, which includes branches, split trunks and whole trees ripped out of the ground by their roots.
“This is going to be very devastating, especially in Rogers Park,” Whiteside said.
“I’ve seen one block where every tree was taken out, so that’s going to be very barren.”
Whiteside appealed to residents and organizations to plant more trees, both to help the environment and to promote natural beauty. It costs the city about $525 to plant a tree and care for it for two years.
At least 15 tornados touched down in northern Illinois on Monday, including one in Rogers Park, according to the National Weather Service.