Updated 08/22/14 – 12:18 p.m.
CHICAGO (STMW) — Heavy rains have caused major flooding across much of the Chicago area overnight, especially in the southwest suburbs, where at least two school districts were forced to cancel classes at all its schools.
According to the National Weather Service, more than 6.1 inches of rain were recorded by a cooperative observer near Midway International Airport from Thursday night until 10 a.m. Friday; with most of that rain — 3.6 inches — falling in a 40 minute span starting shortly after 2 a.m.
Nearby suburban Bedford Park saw 4.6 inches by 6 a.m. Oak Lawn and neighboring Chicago Ridge received more than 5 inches by 10 a.m. Many other southern and western suburbs were hit by 3 to 5 inches of rain.
Southwest suburban Burbank was one of the hardest hit by the storm, with many homes completely surrounded by flooding, their yards and streets completely covered with water.
Burbank School District 111 said all elementary schools and high schools in the district were closed Friday, due to severe flooding in the area. Classes were expected to resume Monday. Reavis High School, the only school in Reavis Township High School District 220, also was closed Friday.
CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports a Cadillac SUV that tried to drive through flooding at 79th Street and Melvina Avenue in Burbank ended up stalling, and the driver was forced to wait for a tow truck to get his car out.
Water was up to two feet high in parts of Burbank, covering many residents’ yards.
It was the second time in three weeks that area has flooded.
While the water was starting to recede Friday morning, stress was only rising for homeowners like Malgorzata Pawlikoski, who were left with flooded basements.
Pawlikoski said she woke up in the middle of the night to check the basement, because it flooded three weeks ago. It happened again early Friday
“The basement was flooded all the way,” she said.
Rain came gushing out of the drains and toilets in the bathroom when the sewer system backed up, overwhelmed by the early morning deluge. After being hit with a double whammy of flooding this month, Pawlikoski was rethinking her plans to refinish the basement. However, without it, her family would lose out on a family room and two bedrooms.
“It’s sad to have lost everything that you have,” she said.
After the first flood three weeks ago, the insurance company estimated $10,000 in costs for repairs and replaced furniture. The family was contemplating if they should move out.
Down the street, cars were stuck in standing water up to the tops of their wheels. A white SUV stalled in the middle of the street. The owners took off their shoes, and treaded through the water to find help.
Sandra Narkute didn’t want to chance the drive, so she said she’ll take the bus to get around on Friday.
Audrey Perez came out to check on her two cars to make sure they were still parked, and not floating down Melvina.
“This is one of the worst situations where we’ve been flooded by rains. You can see my dog here, a Great Dane, he’s up to his knees as well,” she said. “It’s a challenge for a lot of people … in their residences, as well as this morning’s commute. A lot of people won’t be able to get to work, and transportation is critical.”
Streets also flooded in neighboring Oak Lawn, where streets just south of 87th street were just as bad as in Burbank. Residents said they don’t remember flooding this bad,
“87th Street, always, the retention pond overflows, and 87th is blocked; but it’s never come two blocks this far into Oak Lawn,” one woman said.
One man riding a bicycle down a flooded street said it’s the only way he can get around.
Homeowners said they haven’t seen flooding so severe since the 1970s, when news reporters had to use row boats to get around.
“You can’t walk down here at all, and I’m not going to walk through this,” one woman said.