Overnight storms dumped heavy rains on the Chicago area, overflowing sewer capacity in many areas. A viaduct at 95th and Dorchester on the South Side was one site of flooded streets.
The Edens was shut down in both directions near Pratt due to high water, creating a major traffic problem on both the expressway and the road running along it.
Most of the lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway were reopened to traffic after heavy rains submerged all but one northbound lane early Thursday, according to the Illinois State Police.
Rains that began around 9 p.m. Wednesday inundated storm sewers near West 87th Street, causing them to backup and flood the expressway, said Illinois State Police District Chicago Master Sgt. Jason LoCoco.
As of about 1:45 a.m. Thursday northbound traffic bottlenecked into the one remaining left-hand lane as motorists passed through the area, state police said.
Illinois Department of Transportation work crews were on the scene attempting to alleviate the problem and as of 4:50 a.m. only the right hand lane remained closed, state police said.
The flooding does not appear to be the result of a storm sewer clogged with debris.
"From what we know, it's not that the sewers are unable to hold all the water. They are not clogged," LoCoco said.
As of 4:50 a.m., State Police are investigating reports of flooding on the Edens near Petersen and Willow as well as the westbound I-290 near Wolf Road.
Norm Schubert's front yard is part of the Chain o' Lakes, and his garage already filled with water.
"I've got so many things on your mind," Schubert said. "When's it going to stop? What do you need to do next?"
Neighbor John Annarella isn't much better off. On Wednesday morning, his home was high and dry, but it's now an island surrounded on all sides by water.
"It came up so fast," he said. "Got home from work, and there it was. And the next thing we know, we're sandbagging."
The last time Fox Lake residents saw flooding like this was in August 2007 when several dozen homes ended up under water. On Wednesday night, Fox Lake volunteers were frantically filling sandbags. They expected to surpass the number they filled six years ago.
"We're looking like we're almost near 2007. Unfortunately, I think it's a carbon copy," said Annette Wolf, Fox Lake emergency coordinator.
"I'm making sure all the pallets get stacked properly and making sure we get them out as quick as possible," said volunteer Alex Polizzi.
The flooding threat extends throughout much of Lake and McHenry counties. In Gurnee, sailors from nearby Great Lakes Naval Station were working to save Gurnee Community Church.
"They're young, 20-something, throwing those sandbags like they weigh a pound. So it was fun to watch," said resident Betty Fallos.
Back in Fox Lake, John Annabelle has a long night ahead.
"The sump pumps will be going non-stop," he said. "We'll be dealing with that tonight. I was just down in the crawl space making sure they're all set and ready to go."
In Fox Lake, they are expecting to have 18,000 sandbags filled by Thursday.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.