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Storms Lead To Airport Delays, Flooded Roads And Basements

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Heavy thunderstorms that moved through the Chicago area on May 29, 2011, left behind hundreds of flooded streets and basements. (Credit: CBS)

Heavy thunderstorms that moved through the Chicago area on May 29, 2011, left behind hundreds of flooded streets and basements. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 05/29/11 – 6:15 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – CHICAGO (CBS) — Heavy storms that moved through the Chicago area on Sunday forced canceled and delayed flights at both airports, and also left behind flooded roadways and basements.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said that thunderstorms and low visibility led to nearly 400 canceled flights at O’Hare International Airport and other flights were being delayed one to three hours.

At Midway International Airport, there were delays of 45 to 90 minutes, but no cancellations.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Michele Fiore reports

Motorists also were reporting water on exit and entrance ramps on area highways, including the Stevenson Expressway at Cicero.

Flooding also affected more than 700 smaller streets across Chicago.

Chicago Water Management Department spokesman Tom LaPorte explained that water pooling in the roadway is not necessarily a bad thing for local residents, since the city has installed rain blockers to purposely slow the flow into the sewers.

“What we have are rainblockers on the sides of streets. They’re meant to hold the water in the streets so it doesn’t go straight into the sewer and force water into people’s basements,” LaPorte said. “So if you have water in the streets, it should last two or three hours and then goes down. That’s what we want. If it lasts longer than that, call 311. That’s because it may mean there’s a clog in the drain.”

LaPorte said the city’s 311 line has also taken more than 100 complaints of flooded basements, scattered across the city in this latest rainfall.

kankakee fallen tree 0529 Storms Lead To Airport Delays, Flooded Roads And Basements

A 60-foot birch tree fell onto the roof of the Dolger family in Kankakee on May 29, 2011, due to high winds during a severe thunderstorm. (Credit: CBS)

Meantime, there were reports of several funnel clouds in the Kankakee area but no confirmation that any hit the ground. There were at least 11 reports of downed trees and branches in Kankakee, including as many as five homes that had trees topple onto their roofs as a result of the storm.

A ranch home home on South Avenue in Kankakee is an example of of the dangerous strength of the afternoon storm. A 60-foot birch tree was toppled over onto the house, and it rested precariously on the corner of the home’s roof.

Owners Rich and Jean Doelger were shopping at the local WalMart when the storm began to kick up. Concerned about their children at home, they drove in the pounding rain back to their house. Just as they were drying off inside, the tree came tumbling down.

Crews and neighbors came by to clear away debris, but because of the weight of the tree the family must wait for heavy equipment to lift away the massive trunk.

Also, at least one street was blocked off as the winds damaged a power line and caused it to lean over onto the roadway.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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