Illinois Weather: Heavy rain floods streets, knocks out power at Willis Tower; Flood Warning in effect

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CHICAGO (WLS) — A day full of showers and thunderstorms created significant flooding overnight across the Chicago area.

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Warning for much of the Chicago area with varying expirations in the next several days including Cook, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, LaSalle, Lake, Livingston, McHenry and Will counties.

A Lakeshore Flood Advisory was also issued for Lake and Cook Counties until 4:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Major flooding was reported on roadways across the Chicago area including Lower Wacker Drive, where high water levels forced the Chicago Fire Department to send in boats to remove homeless people and motorists who were trapped. Six people had been rescued as of late Sunday evening, officials said.

Flooding has also impacted the ComEd substation at Willis Tower, cutting power to the high-rise and forcing it to be evacuated.

The area saw a record downpour Sunday with more than 3 inches being reported in several locations, ABC 7 Chicago Meteorologist Tracy Butler said.

Overnight, about 40 people and over a dozen animals had to be rescued by boat after they were left stranded outside their flooded homes in unincorporated Lyons township.

“We sort of looked at the situation and determined that now is a good time to tell everyone hey if you wanna leave, it’s a good time to leave,” Lyons Fire Chief Gordon Nord said.

Fire officials said the banks of the Salt Creek overflowed feeding into the Des Plaines River which caused the excess water to spill into flood prone areas of Lyons and Brookfield.

“It’s very dangerous for anyone to walk in here,” we’re advising everyone to stay out, let the water go down, Chief Gordon Nord said.

The fire department set up a pump in the street to drain the water but it hasn’t made much of a dent.

“It’s nerve wracking every time we have multiple days of rain,” Lyons resident Tess Lesniak said. “Our pumps are going and we ‘re ready to just switch out pumps as soon as something burns out we always have a back up pump ready to go.”

The river is expected to crest later today so fire officials are hoping to see the water go down then.

RELATED: Latest AccuWeather reports from ABC 7 Chicago

The rain also caused major flooding in the Western suburbs. In Plainfield, one resident could be spotted canoeing down a flooded street Sunday.

In Naperville, some neighborhood streets turned into water-ways forcing drivers to turn around to avoid getting stuck. Rising water levels also forced police officers to block off the Naperville Riverwalk pedestrian path for safety.

Illinois State Police said Interstate 290 was temporarily shut down at Des Plaines Avenue and Interstate 94 was closed at Pratt Avenue due to the deluge. However, both expressways were reopened by 1 a.m. Monday, ISP said.

Wheaton officials said the city had received 7 inches of rain since Thursday, and that DuPage County’s flood water operations were at maximum capacity.

In Cook County, the flooding also caused the CTA to suspend Blue Line service for about four hours Sunday between the Forest Park and Harlem stations on the Forest Park branch, according to the transit authority. The Red Line was suspended between the Garfield and 95th Street stations for nearly half an hour due to “debris on the tracks.” Both lines have resume service, CTA said.

The Cook County Department of Transportation said that six inches of water could cause a loss of control or stall many vehicles, while a foot of water may cause some vehicles to float. Two feet of water will sweep away most vehicles, the Department of Transportation said.

The rain is expected to continue until Tuesday, with temperatures hovering in the 50s, Butler said.

May has been soggy so far, with 4.52 inches of rainfall in the first 17 days of the month. With more heavy rain on the way, this could get close to last year’s record for wettest May ever, when 8.25 inches of rain fell.

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2020-05-18 15:40:00

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