Chicago Weather

‘It Was Just Pouring Down:' Chicago Hit With Most Severe Flooding in 2 Years

John Carruthers likes to sit on his porch and listen to the rain.

But when it started coming down hard and fast Sunday morning, he started to worry about his Ravenswood home.

“It was just pouring down. That’s when I was like, oh this is not good,” Carruthers said.

The east side of his basement is unfinished, he said, so he had to vaccum about an inch or so of water out. “Thankfully I got it done before the end of the Bears game,” Carruthers said.

He wasn’t the only Chicagoan left scrambling as the city endured its “most significant flooding” in over two years, according to Ricky Castro, a National Weather Service meteorologist. The North Side was slammed particularly hard, with some portions recording up to 5 inches of rainfall.

Ravenswood Manor had already recorded 4.3 inches of rain by noon, according to Castro, who said the area “caught the brunt of the heavy rain and was pretty representative of the amount of rain that fell during the worst of the flooding.”

Other parts of the city had gotten anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of rain, Castro said. And both O’Hare and Midway international airports had recorded about 1.4 inches.

By the morning, social media was awash with content showing the toll of the storm.

In one video taken near Montrose and Harding avenues, water apparently burst through a pipe and shot out skyward. In another video, a similar scene played out near Lawrence Avenue and Pulaski Road, where parked vehicles were left sitting in a pool of the gushing water.

The new turf at Soldier Field was also left drenched. And as the last whistle blew on the team’s opening week victory, quarterback Justin Fields celebrated with the offense by turning an endzone into a slip-and-slide.

On Sunday afternoon, Carruthers said he was just happy the flooding wasn’t worse.

“The sewer really did a great job recovering quick,” he said. “I went down to wet-vac some more and it had receded, which still leaves me with a lot of gross stuff to deal with. But it really worked.”

Others didn’t have the same luck.

Residents on Claremont Avenue between Argyle and Ainslie streets in Lincoln Square said flood water reached up to the bumper of a parked car.

One neighbor on Claremont said about four inches of water got into their basement. They were still trying to dry it out Sunday evening, and were forced to rip out all of their carpet.

Blocks away, near Cullom Avenue and Leavitt Street, residents said they were also dealing with soggy basements.

Meanwhile, flooding on the first floor of a nursing home on Western Avenue in Lincoln Square forced some residents to temporarily relocate, Castro said.

DuSable Lake Shore Drive was also shut down briefly during the rainfall, and a section of the Eisenhower Expressway was closed for hours, Castro said. “A few people” needed to be rescued from their cars after driving into standing waters from flooded viaducts.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said roads remained opened as they continued to monitor weather conditions. The OEMC also advised residents to use caution and avoid driving through standing water on streets, viaducts and low-lying areas.

Castro noted the rainfall Sunday morning was the “most significant since May of 2020, after a really dry summer for the North Side.”

“I wouldn’t call them common, but we have those occasional vents that produce 3-to-4-plus inches of rain,” Castro said. “The most recent significant event of that magnitude was in May of 2020. That was the event that caused flooding on the first floor of the Willis Tower and also some really significant flooding along the Chicago River.”

A Flood Watch remained in effect until 4 a.m. Monday, the weather service said.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
Contact Us