September 13th to 14th Flooding Event
A tropical air mass set up across northern Illinois and northwest Indiana which led to a large portion of the region ending up with substantial flooding. The heaviest rain began early on Saturday the 13th and lasted through most of the day, with a brief period in the evening where rain finally ceased. Rainfall amounts were generally in the 4 to 8 inch range across the hardest hit areas, which spans across most of northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana. Numerous streets and highways have shut down because of the heavy rain along with basement flooding. The large swath of heavy rain has also caused most rivers in the region to climb into flood stage, with major to record flooding forecast on some rivers. Additionally, the 6.64 inches of rain that fell at O’Hare International Airport on the 13th established a new all time record calendar day rainfall for Chicago, where records date back to 1871. The previous record was on August 14, 1987 when 6.49 inches fell. The following is a map plotting out all of the Flood or Flash Flood reports received by the National Weather Service in Romeoville from Saturday morning through Saturday evening as well as the radar estimate of the event from Friday evening (when rainfall was light) through Sunday morning.
Flood reports from September 13th to 14th
NWS Chicago Doppler radar estimate of rainfall from Friday evening into Sunday morning. Green shading indicates 1 to 2.5 inches, yellow shading indicates 2.5 to 5 inches, while red shading indicates 5 to 10 inches of rain.
Unfortunately, the rainfall is not over. The tropical remnants of what was Hurricane Ike are moving northeastward into the region and combined with a cold front trying to push through has led to the redevelopment of light to moderate rainfall. As the remnants of Ike reach the Chicago area later this morning, the rainfall is expected to intensify with additional amounts of 1 to 2 inches with locally higher amounts of 4 inches by this evening. With most areas still having standing water and rivers stressed to their limits, any additional rainfall is going to make conditions worse.
Residents of northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana are asked to take caution and beware of flooded roadways. With the amount of roads that have been closed due to flooding, some municipalities have run out of signs to mark roadways that are flooded. Take particular caution if you are driving at night as a flooded roadway may not be noticeable until you are upon it. As always, it is very difficult to judge how deep the standing or flowing water over a roadway may be, so turn around and don’t drown!
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Here are a few helpful links to monitor the flooding…
Additional information can always be found on NWS Chicago’s website at weather.gov/chicago