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Storm Soaks Northern Burbs; More Severe Weather On The Way

Many homes in Gurnee, Ill., were left with flooded yards and basements after heavy rainfall drenched the northern suburbs on July 27, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

Many homes in Gurnee, Ill., were left with flooded yards and basements after heavy rainfall drenched the northern suburbs on July 27, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 07/27/11 – 8:16 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A storm swept into the Chicago area Wednesday morning, leaving behind flooded streets, yards and basements in some areas that were hit with more than four inches of rain.

By 10:15 a.m., the storms had already poured up to 4.21 inches of rain on far north suburban Wadsworth. And even more rain is expected to hit the Chicago area Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

The National Weather Service warns that Antioch, Beach Park, Fox Lake, Gurnee, Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Waukegan, Winthrop Harbor, Wadsworth and Zion will likely see flooding, among other areas of Lake County.

McHenry County and areas continuing west to Rockford are also likely to have significant rainfall.

Large parts of Wisconsin also saw significant storms rainfall, while southern portions of the Chicago area saw no rain at all.

The storms had largely moved out over the lake by 11 a.m., but the severe weather threat is not over. A new batch of thunderstorms is expected to hit the area late Wednesday evening, lasting until Thursday morning. Rainfall rates could range from 1 to 3 inches per hour.

A tornado watch was in effect for Boone, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson Whiteside, Will and Winnebago counties until 1 a.m. Thursday.

A flash flood watch was also in effect for portions of Illinois and Northwest Indiana until 1 p.m. Thursday – including Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Will and Winnebago counties in Illinois and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana.

As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, there was so much rain so quickly Wednesday morning that it bubbled up from the sewers in far north suburban Gurnee, turning roads to rivers.

The heavy rain was especially tough for people who were still struggling with storm damage from last week.

For a lot of residents it’s meant two messes to clean up. Wednesday’s flash floods rolled in and out pretty quickly, but not before drenching basements and turning lawns into lakes.

A Gurnee resident, who asked to be identified only as Carol, estimated that her yard was flooded with at least nine inches of water.

Her home was already pummeled by severe storms earlier this month, when a major windstorm left some Chicago area residents without power for days.

“And now this,” Carol said. “We don’t even have everything cleaned up and we’re fighting another battle. It’s gotta quit sometime. … Very frustrated; I can still smile, but I’m frustrated.”

The yard might have gotten the worst of it, but one tree branch did pierce the roof as well

Making matters worse, the non-stop traffic outside keeps sending more water into homes in the Gurnee and Waukegan area.

Much of Delaney Road, which connects unincorporated Gurnee to Waukegan was under water Wednesday afternoon and traffic was reduced to one lane.

Business owner Denise Sanfilippo said it wasn’t until the rain stopped coming down that the water started going up, catching them by surprise.

“I own the dog daycare and boarding that’s back there. … We left around 12:30 for an hour (and) by the time we got back it was completely unpassable,” Sanfilippo said. “I just don’t know what we’re gonna do when the owners come to get their dogs. They may have to get a small rowboat, I don’t know.”

Over on Cashmore Lane, sewage water was too fast for some basement sump pumps, but disappeared just as quickly as it built up; giving residents a chance to clean it all up.

Emilio Perez said, “we ran into the house, went down to the basement and, lo and behold, there was quite a bit of water on the floor.”

With their soggy belongings cleaned out and thrown out, some residents drove around surveying damage.

Ray Oswald said, “my neighborhood looks like there’s a river going down the middle of the street.”

Traffic was getting through Wednesday afternoon, although some roads were still partially flooded.
Waukegan police said roads were flooded because there was so much water in such a short period of time and some drains were still clogged from the last storm.