Line of strong storms brings reports of flooding across Chicago area

Tornado sirens briefly went off Saturday afternoon as forecasters warned of rotating storm systems, but a tornado watch was allowed to expire Saturday night.

SHARE Line of strong storms brings reports of flooding across Chicago area
A person takes a photo of dark clouds covering portions of the downtown area Saturday afternoon.

A person takes a photo of dark clouds covering portions of the downtown area Saturday afternoon.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A line of strong storms that blew through the Chicago area Saturday flooded roads and had meteorologists keeping a careful eye out for cloud rotations that could spell tornadoes.

At least 1.33 inches of rain had fallen at Midway Airport as of 7 p.m. Saturday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Jake Petr. O’Hare airport had seen less than an inch of rain.

Rain totals may have been higher in other parts of the city — additional figures wouldn’t be available until Sunday morning — but there were numerous reports of standing water and flooding in homes, according to Petr.

A flood advisory is in effect for much of the area until 9:15 p.m.

Flooding shut down a portion of the Eisenhower Expressway for several hours, snarling traffic in and out of the city.

Chicago fire officials warned drivers to avoid flooded viaducts, and recommended that if the water level reached higher than the wheel rim of the vehicle, drivers shouldn’t enter them.

There were multiple reports of vehicle’s stalled in flood waters Saturday evening, but even drivers who made it through could risk harming their car’s braking system, they said.

Tornado sirens blared briefly in parts of Chicago Saturday afternoon, but a tornado warning was allowed to expire after rotation clouds passed over the North and Lower West sides of the city.

The sirens came just days after a tornado ripped through several suburbs west of the city and left more than 100 homes damaged.

Showers and thunderstorms could appear over the next 24 hours, especially along and southeast of Interstate 55, the weather service said.

A 40% chance of rain was forecast for Sunday morning and afternoon, with more thunderstorms possible Sunday evening, but “not quite what we saw today,” Petr said.

Dark clouds cover portions of the downtown area, Saturday.

Dark clouds cover portions of the downtown area, Saturday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

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