According to the National Weather Service, Chicago’s Midway Airport reported 2.94 inches of rain between 7-11 a.m. Sunday, with at least 1.6 inches of rain reported between 10 and 11 a.m.
That rainfall total blows past the combined precipitation the airport saw in the months of May and June combined, when 2.6 inches of rain were reported over the 61-day span.
Numbers are still being tabulated at O’Hare International Airport on Sunday, but officials say at least 2.26 inches of rain have fallen at the airport over the weekend.
Combined between May and June, O’Hare reported 3.07 inches of rain, meaning that they will also likely blow past that total just with this weekend’s heavy rainfall.
A flash flood warning remains in effect until 3:15 p.m. Sunday, with heavy rain continuing in the Chicago area. You can stay tuned to the latest headlines here. Meanwhile, more than 110 million Americans are under hazardous weather alerts as severe thunderstorms and dangerous heat levels persist across the country, weather forecasters warned this weekend. Parts of the South, Midwest, and East Coast remained under severe thunderstorm alerts Sunday after several days of extreme weather conditions.
Since Thursday, nearly 700 incidents of damaging winds have been reported in the central, southern, and eastern United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Threats of thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes
The threat of dangerous and severe thunderstorms will extend across parts of the Midwest and South, from Tennessee to New Jersey, according to AccuWeather.
Large hail and damaging winds with a chance of a small number of tornadoes are forecast for the region, AccuWeather said. Some storms will also produce lightning strikes and wind gusts between 60 and 70 mph, said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex DaSilva.
With a large number of people expected to be outdoors for the Fourth of July weekend, AccuWeather meteorologists warned people to move and stay indoors at the first sign of a thunderstorm.
West, Southeast under intense heat
While temperatures across the South have begun to cool down, parts of the Southeast and West are under heat alerts. Excessive heat warnings were issued for the Desert Southwest region, including areas in Arizona and California.
The heat is expected to last through the week with portions of Oregon expecting hot temperatures for the Fourth of July and afternoon temperatures are forecast to reach into the triple digits in the Desert Southwest region, according to the weather service.
“Heat-related danger remains elevated due to the longevity of this heat wave,” the Storm Prediction Center said. All lanes of eastbound Interstate 290 are shut down due to flooding, with traffic being diverted to Des Plaines Avenue near Forest Park, ISP said. IDOT has been working to remove the flood waters to reopen the roadway.
But even as drivers avoided the flooding on the expressway, many became ensnared elsewhere as they tried to navigate city streets. At one point on Sunday morning, no less than seven vehicles and their passengers were trapped as floodwaters inundated ta viaduct right off I-290 at 5th and Cicero avenues. A young girl was seen being evacuated from the pickup truck she was riding in, while others attempted to get out on their own walking through what, in some cases, was waist-deep water.
“I went and my car just started floating, and I said, ‘Oh, snap.’ So, my first reaction was to try and get out of the car. I opened the door, and the water started flooding my feet,” Fisher said.
Tow truck drivers have been doing brisk business. But, getting all those trapped vehicles out is no easy task, with many having to wait patiently for water levels to begin to recede.
“The rain hasn’t stopped, and so the water levels ain’t going down, so right now, we’re just waiting, waiting patiently. I try to help as many people as I can. Some people can’t afford tows,” said driver Sam Martinez.
Flooded expressways resulted in lane closures
The Stevenson Expressway has reopened between Cicero and Pulaski after being closed in both directions.
The inbound and outbound lanes on the Eisenhower Expressway at Des Plaines, two left lanes are closed on outbound I-57 at 127th, and the northbound I-55 ramp to Route 83 remains closed as of 3:29 p.m. Flooding was also reportedly blocking the two left lanes outbound at Harlem Avenue, leading to solid traffic back to Independence Boulevard.
Earlier in the day, a Chicago police officer called for assistance around after getting stuck in some deep standing water near Flournoy and Cicero on the West Side. A police source told CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek the officer is fine, but it’s a good reminder to be careful driving in this heavy rain.
Train cancellations/bus reroutes
CTA Pink line train service between Pulaski and 54th and Blue line service between UIC Halsted and Forest Park are suspended due to the weather.
Blue Line service between UIC-Halsted to Kedzie and Harlem to Forest Park has also been suspended due to track conditions. Those trains are operating in two sections: between Forest Park and Kedzie and between O’Hare and UIC-Halsted.
Shuttle buses have been requested to provide service between UIC Halsted and Forest Park. The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications urged motorists to use caution and avoid driving through standing water on streets, viaducts and low-lying areas.
Residents can call 3-1-1, visit 311.chicago.org or use the CHI311 app to report water in your basement, standing water in the street or viaduct flooding.
As of 3:30 p.m., OEMC said they have received 412 calls about water in basements, 264 calls about water on streets and 38 calls about flooded viaducts.
The mayor’s office released a statement reminding people to stay off the flooded roads and asking residents to be mindful of their water use.
“To assist with moving water into the wastewater system, please do not use extra water to shower, do laundry or dishes while experiencing storm conditions. As our climate changes and we see heavier rain events in compressed periods of time, it is difficult for our sewer system to move the water efficiently. While it may present a temporary inconvenience, it is better for water to pool on the street than in residents’ basements,” the statement said, in part.
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