Record rainfall, flooding and overcast skies. (Published Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011)
Saturday morning marked the biggest deluge of rain in Chicago history, meteorologists say.
Many travelers, however, are not happy about the dubious record as streets and highways flooded, air travel ground to a standstill and poweroutages swept the metro area and beyond.
The overnight storm that dumped between 5 and 7 inches of rain on the Chicago area, forced the closure of several flooded expressways, ramps and roads, blacked out nearly 90,000 Com Ed customers and led to numerous delays and cancellations at the airport.
Parts of O'Hare airport's passenger pick up lanes flooded, as did countless basements.
Mark Ratzer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, says "extremely heavy rainfall" began shortly after midnight and in two hours dropped 5.53 inches at O'Hare International Airport. He says some Chicago suburbs reported upward of 7 inches of rain. Temperatures also dropped to the low 70s in some areas.
Ratzer says typically an "impressive storm" would deliver an inch-and-a-half of rain.
The rain surpassed the previous record high single-day rainfall total of 6.64 as recorded by the Chicago Weather Service said NBC 5 Meterologist Pete Sack. The rain reached 6.41 inches in Glenview, 5.4 in Arlington Heights and 5.49 in Elk Grove Village.
Roads leading to O'Hare were closed off due to flooding. Viewers wrote in to say hotel and convention center parking lots near the airport look more like ponds.
Other notable closings were the Edens Expressway at Tower Road, Dan Ryan between I-57/Bishop Ford and 83rd Street and at the 69th/67th, the Eisenhower in both directions between Manheim Road and Thorndale and at Austin Boulevard and the Bishop Ford between Stony Island and Dan Ryan, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
Three CTA lines were also effected by the storms, which included interruptions on the Red Line between 95th and 79th streets, the Blue Line between O'Hare and Jefferson Park and between Forest Park and Racine and the Pink Line between 54th/Cermak and Pulaski.
State Police officials say portions of several freeways and underpasses were underwater.
ComEd says about 81,000 utility customers were blacked out because of the storm.
More rain was expected Saturday morning as a storm in Iowa moved eastward toward Illinois.
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