Chicago rain totals from Sunday already past average for month of July, weather service says

The average for the month of July is 3.7 inches and some areas of the metro area, from Berwyn to Chicago’s Garfield Park, saw over 8 inches.

SHARE Chicago rain totals from Sunday already past average for month of July, weather service says
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Parts of the Chicago Riverwalk near City Winery Riverwalk were underwater after severe rain storms battered Chicago and caused a lot of flash flooding on Sunday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

How much rain did Chicago get on Sunday?

To put it into perspective, the average amount of rain in July for the city is 3.7 inches, and some parts of the Chicago area received up to 9 inches during the storm that caused widespread flash flooding and delayed the inaugural NASCAR event, according to preliminary amounts reported by the National Weather Service.

The rain started around 8 a.m. Sunday and persisted for the rest of morning and most of the afternoon with continuous periods of very heavy rain from a system that developed over the city, with most of the rain falling during a six-hour period, according to Kevin Birk, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Romeoville.

“There were two waves that hit. The first wave was in the 9 [a.m.] to noon time frame, and then the second one came during the 1-3, 1-4 [p.m.] time frame,” Birk said.

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At the city’s official recording station at O’Hare Airport, 3.35 inches of rain was reported, breaking the previous daily record of 2.06 inches in 1982. It was the highest daily rainfall total at the airport since May 2020, when 3.53 inches was recorded. Midway Airport saw 4.68 inches of rain.

The storm hit other parts of the metro area especially hard, including in west suburban Berwyn, which saw nearly 9 inches of rain. Garfield Park on the West Side of Chicago got 8.12 inches, Lincoln Park 7.89 inches, Evanston 7.09 inches and Oak Park 6.04 inches.

More than 2,000 complaints of “water in basement” and “water in street” were logged by the city’s 311 system. That’s the highest volume of flooding complaints received on a single day since 2019, the earliest year such 311 data is available from the city’s data portal.

Roughly 1,500 were basement flooding complaints and about 500 were street flooding complaints. Most complaints were concentrated on the city’s Northwest and West sides.

The last time Chicago saw nearly 9 inches of rain was Aug. 13-14, 1987, when 9.35 inches of rain was recorded in a 24-hour period at O’Hare, with 8.35 inches occurring in the span of 12 hours, Birk said. In 2011, 8.41 inches of rain was recorded July 22-23 at O’Hare.

Birk said the rest of Monday was expected to be “fairly quiet,” with highs near the lake in the 70s and inland temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s. For the July 4 holiday, highs are expected to be around 90 with a chance of an isolated thunderstorm. That storm isn’t expected to be widespread, Birk said, with maybe a couple of isolated storms possible in the afternoon.

“But it shouldn’t shouldn’t affect fireworks,” Birk said.

The weather service is watching another system for Wednesday, which is expected to be another warm day with a cold front coming in the afternoon and evening that “could actually spark off some strong, maybe even severe thunderstorms as we head into Wednesday evening,” Birk said.

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