Reports of a tornado touching down in Dyer, just east of the state line Monday, were confirmed by the National Weather Service.
Using reports from storm spotters and submitted photos, meteorologist Lee Carlaw with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Illinois, said the NWS was able to confirm the twister touched down briefly, leaving an estimated 75- to 100-yard track.
Just before 4:30 p.m., marble-sized hail began to fall in the Munster area, continuing for at least 10 minutes.
The NWS tweeted that a storm cell had produced increasing rotation in eastern Will and southeast Cook counties, headed in the direction of Dyer. A later tweet indicated a tornado may have been developing in Merrillville.
Trained spotters reported a confirmed tornado touch down near the Illinois-Indiana state line, NWS tweeted at 4:33 p.m.
Carlaw said the initial tornadic super cell near Dyer was an average moving storm, traveling east at 30 mph. He said the tornadic cell tracked east and out of Porter County by 5:30 p.m. Monday. The meteorologist called the Dyer touchdown "extremely brief and short lived."
On Willow Lane in Dyer, residents ventured out of their homes to survey the damage. Most were in good spirits.
On their block, some trees were knocked over and branches hung limp. Others were scattered across lawns, sidewalks and roads. Siding from houses and roof shingles were strewn about.
Chris Artim said he got his wife, Judy, and dog downstairs once the sky became dark and a funnel formation was making its way toward their home.
“I was watching it,” he said. “I saw the debris. I got down in the crawlspace. I just heard a lot of racket. It sounded like a train.”
A tree was knocked over the roof of his home. Neighbors helped him remove it from the roof.
Bob Kerwin, who lives down the street, brought a chainsaw to start cutting into the large trunks.
“I watched as it came through,” Kerwin said. “It got worse as it came along. That was nuts.”
Barb Butcher also had a tree knocked down in her backyard. She says the funnel cloud ripped the top half of a tree trunk off and laid it onto the patio.
“It was straight out of the Wizard of Oz,” Butcher said.
NIPSCO reported hundreds of power outages Monday night in the Dyer and Munster areas caused primarily by falling trees taking out power lines, NIPSCO public affairs manager Dana Berkes said. By 9:15 p.m. Monday many of those outages were restored.
Photos and videos of the storm appeared on social media shortly after it passed through the Dyer area. This photo, shared on Twitter by @NWI_Cubs_Fan, shows cloud rotations in the area of Calumet Avenue and U.S. 30.
Tornado warnings were issued in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties as the storm continued to move east. An initial storm cell was followed by another, both of which moved through Central Illinois earlier in the day.
The series of storms that swept the Region did produce other reports of rapidly rotating storm clouds in parts of Lake and Porter counties.
Carlaw said the Region can expect thunderstorm chances to continue through the end of the week, with storms forecast tomorrow bringing a chance for damaging straight line wind, large hail and possibly a repeat of Monday's tornadic activity.
"We're in a pretty active weather pattern here," Carlaw said. "This part of Illinois and this part of the U.S. is certainly no stranger to tornadic super cells."
Times digital producer Kale Wilk contributed to this report.