Chicago weather: Strong storms move through area Friday, more flooding along Fox River

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Strong storms are moving through the Chicago area Friday afternoon and evening, with high winds, hail, and heavy downpours affecting already flooded areas.

A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect for Boone, Cook, De Kalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, La Salle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Ogle, McHenry and Will counties in Illinois, Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties in Wisconsin, and Jasper, LaPorte, Lake, Newton and Starke counties in Indiana until 12 a.m.

ComEd said the storms that moved through the northwest suburbs on Friday left approximately 30,000 customers without power as of 9:30 p.m. Elgin, Rockford and Mount Prospect customers were the most affected by power outages.

Over 150 flights were canceled at O'Hare Airport on Friday and flights were delayed an average of 29 minutes.


In Elk Grove Village high winds ripped roofs from some buildings on Friday evening.

The clatter of oversized hail rattled through Elk Grove Village as families hunkered down in their homes, worried about the wind.

"I thought the world was coming to an end," said Joe Kobida. "Closest I've been to a tornado, if they want to call it one."

Heavy wind tore up their trees, littered the streets, yards, and gutters with leaves, and hail shattered their shutters and windows.

"Like someone was throwing rocks at my house constantly for 10-20 minutes," said Kobida. "I figured it was going to be quite a bit of damage. Just so long as it didn't take the roof off and I don't have any damage I'm happy."

A business on Bonaventure Drive in Elk Grove Village wasn't so lucky. Their roof did just that.

Wind peeled another roof back from the top of a business in Streamwood.

The rain fell so fast it filled a residential intersection, stranding a driver unexpectedly.

On the back side of this fast moving, early evening storm steam rose from the saturated ground around the damage.

"A lot of hail came down, like the size of golf balls, covered everything," said Kobida.

And stubborn piles of hail refused to melt, reminding Elk Grove Village residents what had shaken their neighborhood.


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The storm rolled in, eerily-ferocious, pelting Schaumburg with hail and high winds, resulting in extensive tree damage.

The storm rolled in, eerily-ferocious, pelting Schaumburg with hail and high winds, resulting in extensive tree damage.

There was so much hail it turned yards white, with summer lawns looking like a scene out of January.

Elsewhere, water was the problem, Weathersfield Way in Schaumburg was inundated by the deluge. Portions of the street were underwater. There were downed trees on several residential blocks in the area as a result of the extreme weather.

Cars were left stranded, parking lots under water, hazards everywhere as people went for help.

"I heard a lot of noise banging, and all of a sudden it was over. I looked outside, and all of sudden I see all the trees everywhere. I look at my back fence. There's no fence anymore," said Schaumburg resident Tyler Clark.

Tyler Clark was among the many cleaning up after powerful winds toppled and snapped trees on several residential blocks.

The breadth of the damage is unbelievable to many.

"There's people living here for over forty years. They've never seen anything like it. It just came out of nowhere," said Schaumburg resident Jesse Perez.

On Friday night, the fire department checked on residents and for gas leaks, including in one yard where trees ended up on homes, causing porch and roof damage.

"I was out of state at the time, and I heard about this going on. Neighbors sending me messages. It was surreal," said Schaumburg resident John Okulanis.

Schaumburg Police say they have no reports of any injuries. Traffic lights are working, but power outages are an issue throughout the suburbs.


In Algonquin, people hoped for a break as the Fox River rose again. More storms with heavy wind, rain and hail moved through the Chicago area early Friday evening.

Volunteers helped Algonquin prepare for the worst on Friday in anticipation of more storms.

"I don't believe they can take much more. It's bad now," said Algonquin area resident Robert Bates.

Sandbagging efforts shifted into high gear as more storms promised this weekend could cause a swollen Fox River to surge even more.

"We've been at this about a week and a half now. We've filled just shy of 40,000 sandbags so far," said Steve Ludwig from Algonquin Pubic Works.

Thursday's storms dumped more rain into that area after the flood waters were starting to recede Wednesday.

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Volunteers help Algonquin prepare for the worst while hoping for not much rain at all.

But since those levels came back up, some residents started to move their belongings out.

Village officials have not ordered any evacuations yet. But with the rain coming again, they won't rule it out.

The Fox River rose to almost 13 feet by Friday afternoon.

Village officials are hoping to get more volunteers to help fill more sandbags.

"We thought we had our hands wrapped around this, and now it's like we're starting all over again," said Janis Jasper, Algonquin Village trustee.

Mark Korczyk has sandbags surrounding his property, hoping for the best.

"Another 6-8 inches, we'll be fine, if it's 5, 6, 7, we'll regroup again," he said.

His neighbor Michael Mooshey has managed to keep the river water out of his home but not his garage.

"We're a little concerned, but we'll ride it out. It's all we can do. We're ready, I think so," he said.

The Algonquin Public Works Department has been working non-stop since last week, filling and delivering sandbags, keeping a close eye on the weather.

"We will be tied to the forecast," said Steve Ludwig, Algonquin Public Works.

More volunteers showed up to pitch in and help Friday morning.

"It give me a really positive feeling," said volunteer Gary Wigman.

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Restoration crews have been busy across the northern suburbs, helping flood victims clean up the mess.


The National Weather Service said a flood warning will remain in effect through Sunday for the Des Plaines River, which saw record flood levels last week. The flood warning covers the Des Plaines River near Gurnee, Russell and Lincolnshire in Lake County and the Des Plaines River near Des Plaines in Cook County, as well as the Fox River at Algonquin Tailwater in Kane and McHenry counties.

Just after residents thought the worst was over, flood cleanup in northwest suburban Algonquin was put on hold Thursday because of the rain.

"When I got up, I just came out and looked and shook my head," said Marie Betz, an Algonquin resident.

Betz said she saw parts of her patio furniture resurface Wednesday, but Thursday morning, her birdbath and other items were underwater again. Down the street, water levels were back up.

"The highest in the past was up to this tree line. These are times that try a man's soul," said Jonathan Beeman, another Algonquin resident.

Homeowners added more layers of sandbags around their property Thursday, as high water started to spill over the barrier they had already made.

"We started out with two layers. Now this has come up, so it's three and four in some spots," said Curt Wittrock, another Algonquin resident. "But the house is dry. The basement is dry. As long as the pumps keep going and the power keeps going, we should be OK."

Neighbors said with more storms on the way, there will be no rest over the next few days.

Starting Thursday, people affected by the flooding in the north suburbs got a new center to help them get back on their feet. A disaster flood resource center is scheduled to open at the old Garden Fresh location in Round Lake Beach.
Counselors will be there, as well as officials who can help people find housing and insurance information. The center will be open through the weekend.

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