Latest Deluge Shuts Down Lake Shore Drive
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UPDATED 07/29/11 3:02 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) Yet another deluge swamped the Chicago area overnight, producing so much flooding that Lake Shore Drive had to be shut down.
The latest round of storms also knocked out power to tens of thousands of ComEd customers, and lit the sky ablaze with thunder and lightning again.
As of Friday afternoon, ComEd had restored service to about 36,000 customers who were left without power after the storms overnight. Another 13,000 customers were without power — including 6,000 in Chicago, 4,000 in the northern suburbs, 1,600 in the southern suburbs and 900 in the western suburbs.
With all the rainfall, July 2011 is now the seventh wettest month in Chicago history, according to the Sun-Times Media Wire. The total is now 11.15 inches, just shy of the 11.28 inches that fell in June 1892, the wire service reported.
The wettest month ever remains August 1987, when the area saw 17.1 inches of rain.
On Friday morning, a flood advisory was issued for Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties, while a flash flood warning has been issued for Porter County in Indiana as the storms rolled on to the east.
The potential for showers continues as the front moves to the south.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the storms overnight prompted police to shut down the northbound of Lake Shore Drive between Chicago Avenue and Fullerton Parkway due to flooding. The Drive reopened just before 3 a.m., and was clear between downtown and Lawrence Avenue by that time.
But at the height of the storms, it was a different story. Officers kept people and vehicles off because it was just too unsafe.
In particular, the underpass leading from Michigan Avenue to Lake Shore Drive was inundated. It remained impassable as of 6 a.m.
Also, flooding had closed the left two lanes southbound at Belmont Avenue, and the far left lane northbound at Chestnut Street.
Flooding was also reported in several other areas. At 5 a.m., Foster Avenue – one of the main surface routes to O’Hare International Airport – was closed in both directions between LeClaire and Lavergne avenues due to flooding, CBS 2’s Derrick Young reported.
And the flooding didn’t just affect the city. In Elmhurst, streets became nearly impassable for vehicles, and the heavy downpours created puddles so large that even police had difficulty getting through.
In Des Plaines, the westbound lanes of Touhy Avenue just east of Mount Prospect Road were impassable until around 6 a.m., by which time one lane was usable. But CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl warns motorists can hydroplane, or even stall their engines, by driving into water that is too deep too quickly.
Up north in Waukegan, where residents have suffered flooding all week, overnight rain sparked fear.
“Fingers crossed – no rain,” said Waukegan resident Danielle Zenner. “I will cry if there’s rain, because we’re going to be in deep trouble.”
But of course, there was rain in Waukegan too. Zenner planned ahead with sandbags around her home.
There may be flooding on her street Friday morning, as she saw Wednesday.
“We were starting over when the windstorm hit, and now we’re starting back over,” Zenner said. “When is it going to stop?”
As Zenner and her neighbors clean up, they hope their sewer system doesn’t back up again from more rain.
City crews had unclogged the sewers in Waukegan on Thursday, bringing hope that more flooding would be averted.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros says the storms should give way to sunshine and a high of 88 Friday. On Saturday, the high is 87, with less humidity than the area has been seeing lately.