Quenching Rain Causes Delays, Outages

The storm brought gusty winds, plenty of lightning and most importantly heavy rain

By Lisa Balde
|  Friday, Jul 13, 2012  |  Updated 9:14 PM CDT
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Gov. Pat Quinn's weather prayers have come true, but Friday's rain brought airport delays and power outages.

The afternoon storm delayed the the start of the Cubs game and flights at both airports by 30 minutes or more, and caused thousands of ComEd outages with the coinciding gusty winds and flashes of lightning.

ComEd reported 7,515 power outages in the city of Chicago following the afternoon storms, which is about half of the 14,915 total outages system-wide. The northern region of the city was hit the worst, accounting for 5,558 of the more than 7,500 customers without power.

The southern and western regions of the city weren't hit as badly, with 1,114 and 728 power outages respectively.

It was the first batch of much-needed precipitation predicted for the weekend. But after an extremely dry summer, experts said it won't be enough to put a dent in the drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has declared the entire state of Illinois in some stage of severe or moderate drought. Far downstate sections have reached the national center's highest end of reporting, topping out at "extreme" and "exceptional" levels of parched conditions and no rain.

"Pray for rain," Gov. Pat Quinn said this week. "It's a good thing to do."

Quinn plans to unveil a state response plan next week that can't come soon enough for Illinois farmers, local park districts and the Department of Natural Resources.

The Chicago Park District reported up to 10,000 trees in a stressed state without rain, and the Morton Arboretum's vice president of collections and facilities said the lack of rain is causing the “worst drought symptoms I have observed in my professional career."

“Plants and trees are so stressed that they not might make it through the drought without some help," said Kris Bachtell, who urged residents to pitch in to water park trees or neighborhood plants that need it.

Several suburban Chicago communities were placed under even-odd outdoor watering regulations to curb water levels, and Wauconda this week implemented a watering ban.

"This drought is a very serious challenge," Quinn said. "Our number one industry in Illinois is agriculture and so much comes out of agriculture."

Humid Monday temperatures in the mid-90s could feel as warm as 100-105. Avalos says temps could rise higher Tuesday to the upper 90s with heat indices between 105 and 110 degrees.

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