Updated 06/26/13 – 1:36 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Continuous heavy rainfall for several hours Wednesday morning caused flooding in several northern suburbs, and forced state police to shut down part of the Edens Expressway.
Several Metra commuter trains also were halted during the morning rush hour commute due to flooded tracks.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until 4:30 p.m. for Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry and Boone counties. Rain spotters had reported 3 to 6 inches of rain in some areas from the slow-moving thunderstorms, with heavy rainfall.
A flash flood watch also is in effect until 7 p.m. Chicago time in Boone, Cook, De Kalb, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, La Salle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, McHenry, Ogle, Will, and Winnebago counties in Illinois; as well as Benton, Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter counties in Indiana.
Combined with rainfall over the past 48 hours, some areas have seen more than 7 inches of rain. Cyrstal Lake has had 6.7 inches, Algonquin has had 7.5 inches, and Woodstock has had 6 inches of rain in the past 48 hours.
The heavy rain could cause flooding in several areas, including Algonquin, Arlington Heights, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Fox Lake, Gages Lake, Glencoe, Glenview, Grayslake, Gurnee, Harvard, and Highland Park.
Illinois State Police said the Edens Expressway was shut down at Pratt Avenue, due to nearly three feet of standing water on the roadway. The expressway was reopened around 10:30 a.m.
Several Metra trains on the Union Pacivic/Northwest Line were halted due to flooding Wednesday morning. Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said there was standing water on the tracks on the McHenry branch of the UP/Northwest Line, and that branch was shut down indefinitely Wednesday morning.
All trains on the UP/Northwest Line were halted north of Palatine, as of 8 a.m. The stoppage was affecting roughly 15,000 commuters. At least five inbound trains and one outbound train on that line were halted due to the flooding.
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago said the main tunnel of its Deep Tunnel Project — which is located under much of the city — was at 92 percent capacity, while the Des Plaines Tunnel near O’Hare Airport was at 60 percent, and the Calumet Tunnel on the South Side was at only 4 percent. The entire tunnel system holds 2.7 billion gallons of water.
Lake County Management coordinator Kent McKenzie estimated the southern and western parts of Lake County got up to four inches of rain in the past 12 hours.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the viaduct on Willow Road east of Shermer Road in Northbrook was flooded, but that didn’t stop drivers from splashing through anyway.
Most got through, but one small car got stuck until a random act of kindness, when a pickup truck driver pulled over, got out in the middle of driving rain, and helped the man driving the car get it out of the water.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, in Buffalo Grove, firefighters were using rescue boats to remove people from flooded areas, mostly on the south side of town.
In north suburban Wheeling, officials said there was flooding throughout the town, with the hardest hit area being the Dunhurst subdivision, near Dundee and Elmhurst roads.
In nearby Niles, officials also said there was flooding in much of the village, with water washing out several streets, and pouring into homes and basements.
In northwest suburban Palatine, the Salt Creek was overflowing its banks, and in nearby Arlington Heights, several cars stalled in standing water, which rose as high as three feet in some spots.
An apartment complex at Rand Road and Route 53 was surrounded by water. In Cary, children took turns floating in a raft down a flooded street.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports the rain also has flooded a number of roads in North Barrington, including Clover Hill Road and Miller Road.
There were also numerous reports of flooding in Barrington, Evanston and Crystal Lake.