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Heavy September Rain Cause Flooding in Chicago

Heavy rains and storms moved through the Chicago area Wednesday night causing damage, outages and flooding.

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Family members of worker who died when heavy rain water rushed into a sewer where he was working say he always feared for his safety on the job.

25-year-old Gustavo Briceno died in the sewer line last night in the Avondale neighborhood.

His body was found two hours later and had been carried about a block away.

The Kenny Construction employee removed his harness to reach a confined space, when the rushing water pushed his body through the line.

A co-worker with him was strapped into his harness and pulled to safety.

The Occupational Safety and Health administration is investigating the fatal accident and could have its findings ready in several months.

Briceno of west suburban Glendale Heights leaves behind his wife and three young children.

By Mitch Smith Tribune reporter

Flight delays and power outages lingered this morning after the Chicago area was pounded by torrential rain, powerful winds and flash floods.

About 70 flights have been canceled at O’Hare International Airport and more than 250 flights were experiencing delays, according to FlightStats, which gathers data from airports and airlines.Some delays were running an hour or more.

No cancellations were reported at Midway Airport, and there just a “handful” of delays, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

About 3,300 households remained without power, down from the peak of 15,000 Wednesday night, according to Commonwealth Edison spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney.

The expressways were clear for the morning rush, a far cry from the night before when flooding forced some motorists to drive the wrong way on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Officials continue to investigate the death of a maintenance worker who was lining a sewer on the Northwest Side. A surge of water in the swept away the 25-year-old private contractor around 8:30 p.m., officials said. The worker’s body was recovered after officials lowered a camera into the sewer.

At one point during the storms Wednesday night, the National Weather Service estimated rain fell at a rate of 1.5 to 2 inches per hour — up to twice the rate that can trigger flash flooding in urban areas. There were reports of quarter-inch size hail and 60 mph wind gusts.

“It was raining real heavy,” weather service meteorologist Matt Friedlein said.

Heavy flooding on the Dan Ryan by Roosevelt and Congress temporarily stopped traffic and prompted some drivers to turn around and drive back the way they came, according to State Police Sgt. Steven Tufenkjian.

Interstate 94 southbound at Madison Street also flooded, state police said, along with the Chinatown feeder southbound ramp to southbound Interstate 55.

Among the areas reporting the worst flooding was the Illinois Medical District neighborhood on the Near West Side.

Stroger Hospital was hit with a brief power outage, and the University of Illinois Medical Center experienced water damage to several buildings, according to hospital spokeswomen. At the U. of I. hospital, the damage to equipment in one lab prevented workers from performing a specific blood test.

Tribune reporter Adam Sege contributed.

Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

Many streets and viaducts were also flooded in the Chicago area, forcing some of them to close.

Traffic was jammed on area expressways because of standing water, but they started moving again around 10 p.m. when the rain diminished.

The National Weather Service estimated rain was falling at a rate of 1.5 to 2 inches per hour at one point — up to twice the rate that can trigger flash flooding in urban areas.

There were reports of quarter inch size hail and 60 mile an hour wind gusts.

Just before 9 p.m., National Weather Service officials said about three inches of rain had fallen in the Chicago area and lightning had been spotted. The Weather Service had also issued a marine advisory for Lake Michigan and a severe thunderstorm warning for the city.

Across the region about 15,000 households were without power as of 8 p.m., ComEd spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said.

By 6 a.m. this morning, that number was down to 3300 outages.

The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report

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Raw: Flooding reported throughout Chicago

Heavy rains are moving through Chicago causing flooding in some areas.

For more log on to Chicago Weather Center.


Raw: Flooded ramp to I-290

raw: Rains move through Chicago


Rains not done: Full Forecast

Rains not done: Full Forecast