Storms break single-day rainfall record

July 23, 2011 (CHICAGO)

It's been reported that 7 inches of rain fell Saturday morning at O'Hare International Airport, making it the rainiest day in the history of the city of Chicago.

At one point early Saturday, the Dan Ryan Expressway was shut down in both directions at 87th Street due to high-standing water. Several vehicles got stuck on the roadway and had to be towed. Crews also cleaned up debris, and all expressway lanes are now open.

Flooding problems also closed the Edens Expressway at Willow Road. Several drivers became stranded in high water and had to be rescued. Emergency crews were called to fish them out of their flooded cars.

"There are stranded motorists, and we assisted in two or three rescues, and then came down to Willow Road and got two cars out," a Chicago Fire Department spokesperson said.

The stranded motorists scenarios were repeated across the Chicago area. Drivers in Bellwood had a hard time getting around during the storm because Manheim Road near St. Charles was flooded. At least one car trying to get through the water became stuck.

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, as well. Passengers were being switched to shuttles. On the way to O'Hare Aiport, passengers were boarding shuttles at the Rosemont Blue Line stop. Service on both the Blue and Pink lines has been restored.

Airlines operating out of O'Hare canceled more than 100 flights. The airport was also reporting delays of up to an hour.

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

Chicago beaches are open but swimming is banned Saturday due to the heavy rains.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District opened locks here 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.

Widespread power outages were reported Saturday. As of 2 p.m., ComEd said approximately 58,000 customers in the area were without power. That includes 22,000 in Chicago, 35,000 in the north suburbs, 1,800 in the south suburbs and 1,500 in the west suburbs. At the height of the storm, there were about 160,00 customers without power.

The company said 350 crews were out and working to restore the electricity.

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