2011’s Nastiest Storms in Chicago

A look at some of Chicago's extreme weather in 2011, including a blizzard that shut down the city, high winds and hail storms.

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2011 was no walk in the park for Chicago weather. The Windy City owned extreme conditions starting with a February blizzard that dumped more than 20 inches of snow and shut down Lake Shore Drive. This year was made of hail storms, high winds, record rain fall, lightning and excessive heat warnings. And winter predictions say there's more to come. Behold, our year in weather.
Chicago Blizzard |
nThe Chicago blizzard of 2011 was the city's third largest snow storm, clocking in at 20.2 inches of snow recorded at O'Hare Airport. Even animals had a difficult time getting around. Schools were closed, 1,800 flights were canceled at O'Hare Airport, seven buildings were reported damaged, 174,000 homes lost power, 500 National Guard Troops were activated and 11 people died.
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Stranded on Lake Shore Drive |
nHundreds of cars were abandoned in the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive after accidents and drifting snow stranded drivers during the Feb. 1 blizzard. The winter storm made highways impassable. Reporter Mary Ann Ahern described her experience of being stuck on LSD during the blizzard.
Storm Leaves Hundreds of Thousands Without Power |
nThunderstorms in July left 86,000 ComEd customers without power. ComEd officials said this summer's 1.6 million outages were the most they've ever had. The biggest outage came in the beginning of July when power was lost to about 868,000 customers, the biggest power crash in about 15 years.
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Severe Hail Storms |
nA round of severe hail storms in the Chicago area June 31 produced golf ball-sized hail and winds in some areas of up to 90 mph. The storm left 107,000 people without power, a fleet of police cars damaged and overnight Metra commuters stuck for hours because of trees on the tracks. Hail shattered several rooms of the Garfield Park Conservatory , and it didn't reopen until Dec. 3.
NBC Chicago
Chicago Sets Rain Record |
nJuly 23 marked the biggest downpour of rain in Chicago history, according to meteorologists. Overnight storms dumped between 5 and 7 inches of water on the Chicago area, flooding expressways, ramps and roads and shutting off power to 90,000 residences.
Excessive Heat Warning |
nAn excessive heat warning for Chicago was issued July 21, with temperatures reaching 98-102 degrees. About 6,300 homes were without power, and the heat index reached 109 degrees in some areas. Even animals at the zoo had to take extra care in the heat.
NBC Chicago
Storms Bring 68,000 Lightning Bolts |
nA storm on July 27 sent 68,000 lightning bolts through the sky. The lightning caused plenty of damage , especially in Carol Stream, and left about 82,000 people without power. Rain levels hit new records.
Heavy Rains Cause Mud Fest |
nHeavy rains turned Grant Park and Lollapalooza into a mud fest this year , and left the downtown park in a dried mud state. Up to 80 percent of the park needed some kind of repairs after the festival and rain. It took crews more than a month to restore the park.
High Winds Cause Damage |
nHigh winds were so powerful Oct. 19, that gusts reached 60 mph and huge waves closed the lakefront path and knocked down runners who braved it. The winds caused glass from high-rises to fall and knocked down the massive Morton Salt billboard that's visible form the Kennedy Expressway.
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