Chicago area drenched overnight with 5 inches of rain
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE April 18, 2013 6:00AM
Shadows of two pedestrians as they pass each other at Clark and Washington on a rainy night in downtown Chicago on Thursday, April 18, 2013. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: April 18, 2013 6:07AM
The Chicago region was pounded by rain overnight, with as much as 1 inch per hour falling across the Chicago region, flooding underpasses and closing major roadways.
“Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to be stuck in this (weather) pattern through the morning and possibly into the afternoon,” said Kevin Birk, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
Cars are stalled in standing water on the Edens Expressway between Foster to Touhy, according to Illinois State Police District Chicago. There are also reports of cars partially submerged by water on the expressway near Winnetka Road, state police said.
Since the rains started in earnest Wednesday evening, nearly 5 inches of precipitation had fallen at O’Hare Airport prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning.
Swollen storm sewers, rivers and tributaries could overrun the lowlands across a large swath of the state, stretching from Peoria to Chicago, according to the weather service.
High winds could add to the misery with gusts expected to reach upwards of 40 miles per hour on Thursday, the weather service forecast.
Early Thursday northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway were closed on the South Side near 87th Street as the deluge pushed storm sewers to capacity, according to the Illinois State Police.
While traffic mostly retuned to normal by 5 a.m., authorities were scrambling to investigate other reports of submerged roadways.
Several CTA buses have been rerouted due to flooding including: the No. 55 Garfield, the No. 9 Ashland, the No. 92 Foster, the No. 52A South Kedzie and the No. 63 Street, according to CTA.
The number and location of flooded streets in the city could not be determined early Thursday because officials with Office of Emergency Management and Communications could not immediately be reached.
It’s not just the Chicago region that’s getting drenched, Birk said.
The storm is traveling in a northeast direction from Oklahoma to Michigan, bringing with it rains, thunderstorms and tornado alerts, according to the weather service.
Once the rains tapper off this afternoon a cold front from the southwest is expected to follow, dropping temperatures into the 40s and lower, if windchill is taken into account, Birk said.
Weather conditions are not expected to return to “normal” until early next week, Birk said.