North suburbs remain under flood warning, area recovering after storms

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Areas along the Des Plaines and Fox rivers will remain under a flood warning through Thursday morning, and much of the Chicago area under a flood watch.

Rivers were expected to continue to rise through Thursday morning due to runoff from Tuesday night’s rain — especially in the north suburbs, the National Weather Service said.

A chance of more thunderstorms through Thursday morning could add to up to half an inch of rain to already significant totals.

The National Weather Service warned people to avoid walking or driving through floodwaters, and to move immediately to higher ground.

The American Red Cross opened shelters for those affected by the flooding at Magee Middle School in Round Lake Beach; the Foss Park Youth Center in North Chicago; The Chapel in Grayslake, and the North Park Village Nature Center at 5801 N. Pulaski in Chicago.

Residents in need of lodging, food or mental health support can stop by any of the shelters, or call (847) 220-7495.

“The unfortunate flooding that occurred through northern Illinois has impacted hundreds of residents,” Celena Roldan, CEO of the Chicago and Northern Illinois Red Cross, said in a statement.

The normal Metra weekday schedule resumed on the Milwaukee District North Line on Wednesday afternoon. But trains may be delayed because of speed restrictions in the areas affected by flooding. Plans could change if there is additional rain, according to Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.

Additionally, more than 700 flights have been canceled at O’Hare as of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and flight delays were averaging 30 minutes, according to the city’s Department of Aviation. At Midway, 18 flights were canceled and delays were averaging 26 minutes.

At the height of the storms, more than 51,000 ComEd customers lost power, according to a ComEd spokesman. As of Wednesday night, thousands were still without power, mostly in Lake, Cook and Kane counties.

Lake Forest Hospital in north suburban Lake Forest began transferred 70 patients to other facilities after losing power, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday night. Power was restored about 8:45 p.m., but the hospital will not see patients on Thursday.

By early Wednesday afternoon, up to 6.5 inches of rain had fallen across parts of Lake County, resulting in significant flooding that made several roads impassible. Many water storage areas were full or over capacity, and additional rains will continue to cause problems. The Fox and Des Plaines rivers are projected to be at upper moderate flood levels.

The village of Libertyville declared a state of emergency after seeing 7 inches of rain as of Wednesday night. Standing water had closed several roads in Libertyville on Wednesday morning, including parts of U.S. 45 and Buckley Road, according to Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani. At least seven vehicles were stuck in high water, but all of the occupants were removed safely.

The flooding also closed Lake Street between Maple Avenue and Division Street in Mundelein, the Mundelein Police Department reported.

High winds from the storms overnight knocked down trees and power lines, causing power outages in northwest suburban Elgin, the city said in a statement. The area between the Grand Victoria Casino and Liberty Street was affected by power outages, as was the area between Wilcox Avenue and Liberty south of Walnut Avenue.

Oakton Community College’s Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road, will be closed until Monday due to flooding in the Des Plaines River. The campus in Skokie will open Thursday but close Friday and over the weekend.

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