Heavy rains blanketed the Chicagoland area on Sunday and culminated in massive flooding throughout the city and suburbs, leading to street closures and power outages.
Lower Wacker drive. Entire lower level flooded. All traffic suspended. pic.twitter.com/O3t6Kv6WwD
— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) May 18, 2020
Lower Wacker Drive was closed Sunday night after several feet of water flooded the area. The flooding also knocked out power at the Willis Tower, where a ComEd substation is located in the basement. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District reversed the flow of the Chicago River to help mitigate the impact of the flooding.
Currently the North Shore Channel and the Chicago River are higher than the lake. In order for the MWRD to reverse the flow of the Chicago Area Waterways, the river must be higher than the lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides lake level data: https://t.co/xshrEPW1jL
— MWRD (@MWRDGC) May 18, 2020
“We are working with officials from Willis Tower and the city of Chicago to assess the situation to determine a way to return electric service to the building as quickly and safely as possible,” a ComEd spokesperson said in a written statement published by CBS2. “Willis Tower is currently the only building affected by the flooding.”
The National Weather Service said that nearly three inches of rain fell before 11 p.m. on Sunday and that a flood warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. Monday afternoon.
“The water is only going to continue to rise even after the rain stops because the ground is so heavily saturated — the water has nowhere to go,” weather service meteorologist Matt Friedlein told the Sun-Times.
According to NBC5, more than 1,000 residents of Cook County were without power around 9:30pm last night, along with about 100 residents in collar counties. Some 40 people in suburban Lyons had to be rescued from their homes by boat. Some suburban streets were still completely flooded Monday morning, according to WGN’s Sarah Jindra.
LYONS: 1ST Ave CLOSED Ogden to 31st due to flooding pic.twitter.com/Kf1B55uA4P
— Sarah Jindra (@SarahJindra) May 18, 2020