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Storms, Flood Threat To Persist Throughout The Day

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Lightining illuminates the night sky at DuSable Harbor overnight. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 06/09/11 12:05 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – We finally have some relief from the sweltering heat this Thursday morning – you may, in fact, need a jacket.

But the downside is that the entire day will be awash in rain and thunderstorms, with a risk of flooding.

CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros as of 11 a.m., a total of 3.26 inches of rainfall were reported in Dolton, 4.69 inches in Morris, 6.39 inches in Richton Park, and 6.49 inches in DeKalb.

In Illinois, the flash flood warnings continue until 11:30 a.m., in Indiana until 3:30 p.m. They cover Will, Kendall, DeKalb and LaSalle counties, and parts of southern Cook, DuPage and Kane counties. In Indiana, the warnings are in effect for most of Lake and Porter counties, and parts of Jasper County.

Urban and small stream flood advisories are also in effect on many areas, and flood warnings have been isseud for the Little Calumet and Kankakee rivers.

The rain and storms pummeled the Chicago area overnight, and well into the morning. Visibility was reduced to 10 feet in some areas, and ponding was reported on many roadways.

Within a period of six hours overnight, the city has seen 1.17 inches of rain. Totals are higher elsewhere, with 2.01 inches in Morris, 2.08 inches in Downers Grove, and 4.36 inches in DeKalb.

Flooding was a major problem in several areas Thursday morning.

Just before 10 a.m., the inbound Dan Ryan Expressway had to be closed between 86th and 87th streets due to high standing water, and police were forcing motorists off the expressway and back on at 83rd Street.

Also, at least two viaducts on the Far South Side have flooded and two manhole covers have burst, according to authorities.

As of 9:45 a.m. a viaduct on 95th Street between Cottage Grove and Stony Island Avenue was flooded. And in another Far South Side area, there is heavy flooding on Longwood Drive from 95th Street to 103rd in the city’s Beverly neighborhood.

City Water Department spokesman Tom LaPorte said as of 8 a.m., the department had received 16 calls of water in basements and 19 calls of water in the streets.

Several people also reported flooding in their basements or on their streets, and about 150 streets flooded — most of them on the city’s South Side.

Minor flooding was reported on the Kankakee River at Thursday morning. The river was nearly 10 feet deep and 1 foot above flood stage.

Waves of 3 to 6 feet 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.

Overnight, thunderclaps and flashes of lightning woke many people up all over northern Illinois. Hail the size of marbles was reported on the city’s West Side, and the weather caused delays for some Metra commuters heading into the city Wednesday night.

The weather may be to blame for several accidents Thursday morning. Standing water on Interstate 57 at Halsted Street snarled traffic, as did a weather-related crash on I-57 near Route 30, an Illinois State Police District Chicago trooper said.

The rollover crash happened about 6:10 a.m. and injured an unknown number of people, the trooper said. Further details were not immediately known.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

CBS 2’s Derrick Young reports a crash on the outbound Kennedy Expressway briefly shut down the roadway at Fullerton Avenue, and caused backups as far away as North Avenue. It was not immediately learned if that crash was weather-related.

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 ³as quickly as possible¹¹ on storm-restoration efforts, Johnson said.

Among the places where the power was out Thursday morning was the Hinsdale Oasis on the Tri-State TOllway (I-294), which was closed as a result.

Also, as of about 8 a.m., airlines at O’Hare International Airport were reporting delays of about 45 minutes for flights in and out of the airport because of the weather, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. Midway International Airport is reporting “a few” delays averaging 30 minutes.

Metra commuters are also being impacted by the rainy conditions. Heritage Corridor train No. 918, scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 8:10 a.m., is running 15 to 17 minutes late because of the weather, according to the Metra website. Train No. 2101 on the Milwaukee North line is 23 to 25 minutes late
because of signal and weather conditions, and will terminate at Deerfield, where commuters will transfer to another train to continue on to Lake Forest.

But at least the sultry 90s are behind us now. The high for Thursday is an almost chilly 64, with temperatures dropping to the 50s for the evening rush. The high for Friday is a comfortable 72 degrees.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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