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With flood watch in effect, mayor cries ‘uncle’ to Mother Nature

Frustratiresignatiwas etched faces loop workers forced endure yet another weather-challenged commute Thursday morning. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Frustration and resignation was etched on the faces of loop workers forced to endure yet another weather-challenged commute Thursday morning. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

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Interactive graphic: Chicago's wet, cold and snowy numbers
Winter seasons with the most subzero lows
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Updated: March 21, 2014 3:27PM



Rain, sleet, thunder, slop. And that’s just Thursday morning’s commute.

A storm system greeted Chicagoans Thursday morning that’s likely to drop up to an inch of rain by the end of the day, raising the possibility of flooding as the temperature could hit 50 and a winter’s worth of snow melts.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch until 3 p.m. Thursday for the Chicago area.

Just in time for the ride home, the weather service warned of potentially damaging winds of up to 60 mph from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday spoke on behalf of a city sick of a relentless winter.

“You get the fifth-most amount of snow,” the mayor said, referring to the city, to date, seeing the fifth-snowiest winter on record. “When it warms up, you’re going to have flooding. That’s just a force of nature. And if Mother Nature is listening, after this winter, enough already. You’re trying our patience. You win. Stop it already. No more,” the mayor said.

On Wednesday, as the city braced for massive flooding and another round of storms, the mayor was asked where he would find the money for snow removal for the remainder of the year. Emanuel has already plowed through $25 million in snow removal spending — $4.5 million over a budget that was supposed to cover this winter and the start of next. That leaves just $1.6 million from a $6 million motor fuel tax fund surplus.

“Our roads are going to be paved, plowed, passable and we’re going to do it in a balanced budget — whether locusts or any of the other plagues that come around Passover time are here. So, don’t worry about that,” the mayor said.



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