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Heavy overnight rain leaves 63,000 ComEd customers without power

A woman boards bus downpour Thursday June 8 2011 Oak Park Avenue Tinley Park. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

A woman boards a bus in a downpour, Thursday, June 8, 2011, on Oak Park Avenue in Tinley Park. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 3, 2011 5:59PM



More than 63,000 ComEd customers are without power following overnight storms that dropped as much of five inches of rain and continue to delay area transit Thursday morning.

A flash flood warning that was in place for much of the Chicago area has expired, though six viaducts on the Far South Side have flooded and manhole covers have burst, according to authorities.

As of 11 a.m., systemwide, there are 63,753 customers without electricity, according to ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson. The bulk, 35,229 are in the south suburbs, while 14,321 are in the city, 4,785 are in the north and the west has 9,418 without power, according to Johnson.

More than 300 crews are working “as quickly as possible” on storm-restoration efforts, Johnson said.

As of 9:45 am. a viaduct on 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue is flooded.

It’s been a “problem viaduct” for several years, according to a Morgan Park District police officer.

“Every time it rains that viaduct floods,” the officer said.

Another viaduct at 95th and Cottage Grove is also flooded.

In the same general area, Fire Media Affairs spokesman Will Knight said that firefighters responded twice about 9 a.m. to help rescue motorists stranded because of flooding viaducts. Crews first responded to 95th Street and Dorchester Avenue and then to 95th and Stony, according to Knight. No one was hospitalized.

No flooded viaducts were reported in the north and central areas but there were six on the South Side, according to City Water Dept. spokesman Tom LaPorte

In the city’s Beverly neighborhood on the Far South Side, there is heavy flooding on Longwood Drive from 95th to 103rd streets.

LaPorte said as of 11 a.m. City crews have responded to 363 “water in the basement” calls on the South Side. There were only 7 calls for basement flooding in the north and 6 in the central areas, he said.

There were 129 calls of water in the street, which is often actually a good thing because it means it’s not in basements, on the South Side, according to LaPorte. In the north and central areas, there were 19 and 15, respectively.

“The South Side was particularly hard hit,” said LaPorte.

Police are also reporting flooding in the following Far South Side areas:

The 10500 block of South Springfield Avenue; the 10400 block of South Central Park Avenue; 103rd to 108th streets on Carpenter; Talman Avenue from 103rd to 108th streets; the 10600 block of South Albany Avenue; 108th Street and Maplewood, and Walden Parkway between 102 to 104th streets, police said.

Sewer covers have blown off in several areas as well. One cover at 105th and Springfield Avenue blew “15 feet up into the air and impacted itself into the grass,” according to the Morgan Park District officer. No one was injured. Another cap blew off at 107th and Pulaski Road.

Meanwhile, in Kendall County, motorists are being warned after heavy flooding.

According to a release from the Kendall County Sheriff’s department, there are areas of standing water in many roads, leaving some secondary roads impassable. Police are blocking the roads.

Motorists are being advised to not drive through water they cannot see through, and not to drive over downed power lines, the release said.

A 54-year-old motorist was injured when the vehicle he was driving collided into a large tree that fell in front it as he was driving east on Griswold Springs Road near Sandwich, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

The motorist, Lloyd Elliot Vermeland, was taken to Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich and was being treated for injuries to his neck and back.

Slow-moving thunderstorms will continue across the area this morning, and runoff from excessive rainfall may cause local flooding, the weather service said.

As of 10:40 a.m., some airlines at O¹Hare International Airport are reporting delays of between 1 to 2 hours for flights in and out of the airport because of the weather, according to the city¹s Department of Aviation.

At Midway, some airlines are reporting delays to to 90 minutes, according to the department of aviation.

Earlier this morning, State Police reported that standing water on I-57 near Halsted on the South Side is snarling traffic, as is a weather-related crash on I-57 near Route 30, an Illinois State Police District Chicago trooper said. High water has also reportedly slowed the Dan Ryan Expy. In the area of 95th Street.

The rollover crash, which is thought to be weather-related, happened about 6:10 a.m. near south suburban Matteson and injured an unknown number of people, the trooper said. Further details were not immediately known.

Minor flooding is already occurring at the Kankakee River at Shelby, which at nearly 10 feet deep is one foot above flood stage, according to the weather service. A flood warning there, affected Lake and Newton counties in northwest Indiana, is in effect until Saturday night. The minor flooding is forecast to impact some county and local roads.

Three to six foot tall waves and northeast winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour could also create a moderate risk of rip currents Thursday morning through Friday morning along the Lake Michigan coastline, according to the weather service, which urged beach-goers are urged to obey lifeguards and posted signs.

However, Thursday’s temperatures will bring some much-needed relief from this week’s near-record heat. The high will reach just 63 degrees and there will be a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms. The low will dip to 54 with a 69 percent chance of storms, the weather service said.

“You’ll probably head to work with it being in the 60s and by the time you leave on Thursday, we’ll reach the upper 50s, especially downtown and warmer inland,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Bardou said.

Those storms may be severe with damaging winds and large hail possible Thursday afternoon, just south of I-80. There’s also a chance of severe thunderstorms Friday afternoon and evening.

The weekend should be sunny, with a high of 74 degrees on Saturday and 70 degrees on Sunday.



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