Chicagoans deal with record-breaking rain

July 24, 2011 5:39:14 AM PDT
Saturday's storms set a new record for rainfall in Chicago, causing flooding on expressways, railways, city streets and in homes.

According to ABC7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz, 6.86 inches of rain fell Saturday, making it the rainiest calendar day in the history of Chicago. The previous record was 6.64 inches, which was set on September 13, 2008, Schwarz said.

Officials say that at one point on Saturday, parts of the Dan Ryan, Edens and Eisenhower expressways were all shut down. The Ryan was temporarily closed in both directions near 87th after several vehicles got stuck.

Read more about the travel complications Saturday's storms caused here.

The storm also affected travel on CTA buses and trains. The CTA Red Line tracks were under water early Saturday. Service was temporarily suspended between 79th and 95th Streets, but now service has been fully restored. There were also reports of flooding on the CTA Blue and Pink lines, causing minor delays. Service on both the Blue and Pink lines has been restored.

Lake Shore Drive was closed from Chicago to Congress, and as a result, CTA bus lines 6, 145 and 146 were impacted.

Saturday's storms also caused widespread power outages. As of 9:30 p.m. Saturday, ComEd said that approximately 31,000 customers in the area were without power. That includes 15,000 in Chicago, 13,000 in the north suburbs, 2,000 in the south suburbs and 93 in the west suburbs. At the height of the storm, there were about 160,000 customers without power.

ComEd said 350 crews were out working to restore the electricity, and the utility planned on adding 100 more crews Saturday night.

The north and northwest suburbs also suffered some of the worst flood damage caused by the storms. Read more about the flooding in the Chicago's suburbs here.

People living in the city, however, were also dealing with the storm damage Saturday afternoon. Wayne Penner's basement was under water again after torrential rains flooded his Ridgeway Avenue home and his West Side neighborhood.

"I just bought brand new living room stuff in there," Penner said.

West Side resident Ernest Martin described his rude awakening: "When the power goes out that makes it worse because I lose food. I can't go in because it's dark. It's just bad. It's terrible."

Flooding after severe storms, however, is something renters and long-time homeowners like West Side resident Joclyn Lorenzo have been forced to accept.

"Pictures are irreplaceable and movies of my kids that I stored in the basement -- that's what hurts me the most," she said.

Meanwhile, the flood waters not only claimed some of Genell Yankieway's things, but also family getaway the foster mother planned for her five kids.

"I had to go to Home Depot to get a sump pump and that was like one hundred something, so now my plan for my kids is gone," Yankieway said.

Also in Chicago, the beaches were open but swimming was banned Saturday due to the heavy rains.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District opened locks in Wilmette and on the Chicago River downtown. When this occurs, a swim ban goes into effect at all beaches until test results show low levels of bacteria in the water -- you'll see the red flag flying until that happens.


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