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Rain, Thawing Snow Brings Flooding Potential To Chicago Region

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(CBS) – First the deep freeze, and now, unfortunately, the flood.

Problems aren’t restricted to homes and businesses. Just walking down the street is no bargain as the thaw begins in earnest.

CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports.

Water-main breaks, falling ice, slush and puddles everywhere; now, city crews are working to keep the city from literally drowning in all this water.

The signs for pedestrians warn: Look out above.

Teresa Everly says she is more wary. But what fell from buildings in downtown Chicago on Friday looked more like slush.

Meanwhile, in the neighborhoods, walkers were stepping around puddles on the sidewalk. Most people opted not to wear their finest footware.

“It’s kind of like playing chess,” Simon Dickinson said in Logan Square.

Two hundred city snow plows were back out Friday, pushing leftover snow, as the city’s Water Management Department was out clearing the city’s catch basins so that the melting snow and rain have a place to go.

The city will be working through the night and tomorrow to clear these catch basins.

There are more than 250,000 across the city, and the department ask residents, if they are able, to clear the tops of the basins in your neighborhood.

Or, dial 3-1-1.

Flood and freezing rain advisories were put into effect for the Chicago area, which has already seen at least a half an inch rain Friday evening.

The flood advisory was put into effect at 4:55 p.m. and lasts 11 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The freezing rain advisory started at 6:16 p.m. and will expire at midnight.

The metro area and surrounding suburbs have seen between a half-inch to an inch of rain since late this afternoon, said NWS meteorologist Eric Lenning.

Multiple streets and at least one expressway are flooded, officials said.

Police were responding to flooding on both Interstate 94 at Lake Cook Road and the intersection of 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue around 5:30 p.m., Illinois State Police said.

The underpass on Dempster Street below Milwaukee Avenue in north suburban Niles was closed for nearly two hours as of 6:15 p.m., Niles police said.

But rainfall is not the only reason streets around the area are seeing flooding.

Freezing rain is piling up roads and sidewalks, making roads look like an ice rink after a Zamboni passes over, Lenning said.

O’Hare International Airport canceled more than 200 flights Friday, according to the city’s Department of Aviation.

Police are advising area residents to stay indoors and avoid driving on the icy roads.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire (Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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