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Severe April Storms and Flooding in Chicago area

After wreaking havoc on the morning commute, closing schools and prompting scattered evacuations, the massive storm that dumped upwards of a half-foot of rain on parts of the Chicago area overnight is expected to continue throughout the day, with flooding the big concern.

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Its a heart-wrenching scene. Firefighters and paramedics from across the region, performing hundreds of rescues — bringing families, senior citizens and even pets  to higher ground.

“It hurts.  It hurts seeing families getting pulled out of their homes. Being able to help…would mean a lot to me,” said Bradley Melgoa, former Forest View resident.

Melgoza won a Purple Heart for his bravery in Iraq.   But his injuries left him unable to lift anything heavier than a milk carton.

Melogoza can only watch his dad, Rafael, as the longtime Forest View resident tries to get the floodwaters out of his home on 45th and Clinton.

“It’s heartbreaking to see my mom and dad going through something that they shouldn’t have to experience,” Melogoza said.

It’s a scene being repeated across the Chicago area.  People brought to their knees by the worst flooding in memory.  

Out west in Naperville, the rain swollen west branch of the DuPage River causing extensive damage.

And the East branch of the DuPage not any better in west suburban Lisle.

To the southwest, Channahon is getting it from all sides, especially where the Des Plains and Kankakee rivers meet to form the Illinois.

Everywhere people repeating the same story — the rapidly rising waters forcing a mad scramble to grab what you can and run.

Just back from Washington, and a visit to the White House Friday morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel toured one of the city’s worst flooded areas.

Dan Ponce has the story.

Residents had no warning when the swollen Des Plaines River did something no one’s seen in over a decade. The raging waters cleared the east berm of the levee near 47th Street, flooding scores of homes and basements.

“The water started coming over close to 10 o’clock last night,” said Frank Yurka, Village administrator. “The Federal Emergency Management Authority told us the river would crest today, but I’m not seeing it.”

Initial reports were that the levee broke. But engineers determined the water levels simply cleared the east berm.

Families with children and babies are being evacuated from the neighborhood. Close to 700 people live in the small southwest suburban Chicago community.

Some of the displaced families have been  sent to Home Elementary school in nearby Stickney, to give folks a chance to dry out.


The Des Plaines River is expected to crest Friday, at record levels.

According to the National Weather Service, the river is expected to crest at 11 feet by 1 p.m. Friday, affecting thousands of homes just west of the river.

Governor Pat Quinn has declared 38 counties state disaster areas after surveying flood damage.

You may be pumping out a flooded basement – A lot of homeowners are doing the same thing. The massive flooding around the Chicago area prompted Governor Quinn to issue a state of emergency.

Amy Rutlege has more on this story.


Area roads remained closed Friday morning as forecasters predicted flurries less than 24 hours after temperatures reached the 60s during a storm that dumped 5 inches of rain across Chicago.

State Police said that ramps to North Avenue in both directions and the westbound ramp to Lake Street from Interstate 290 are closed. Interstate 94 is also closed from the split at Interstate 57 to 147th Street in both directions.

Southbound traffic on Interstate 55 is also being diverted off at Interstate 80 because of flooding just north of Route 6, according to Illinois State Police.

The DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reported dozens of road closures this morning, most of them in Wheaton, Oak Brook and Carol Stream.

Foster Avenue near the North Branch of the Chicago River is also closed, between Pulaski Road and Central Park Avenue. The Chicago River is believed to have crested at about 8.6 feet deep about 4 a.m. Thursday and is expected to return to its normal level by Friday afternoon.

floodedstreetsThe Chicago area could see a few rain showers today but none that would “aggravate current flooding conditions,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Friedlein said.

“What we’ll have out there today is plenty of cloud cover and from that some light sprinkles, maybe even some flurries this morning,” he said. “It’s possible there’s a few actual little rain showers out there too but any amounts are likely to only be a few hundredths of an inch.”

Not all waterways in the Chicago area have reached their high points, though.

The Fox River in Algonquin is predicted to rise another 15 inches, peaking at 13.4 feet by early Monday morning. It could remain in the “major” flood stage into next weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

The Des Plaines River also flooded neighboring communities throughout the collar counties.

At Lincolnshire, the river is only expected to rise a couple more inches today before dropping to within normal levels by next Friday. “Major” flood stage is 15.5 feet, and the river measured 16.33 feet deep as of 4 a.m. Friday morning.

The same river near Des Plaines was almost 11 feet deep but also expected to drop into normal river depth by late next week. The river remained in the “major” flood stage in River Forest, having surpassed the 18.5 foot depth. The river depth of the river about doubled between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

At Riverside, the river’s depth surpassed the previous record of 9.9 feet by about 18 inches. Water is expected to drop below that depth over the weekend and below flood stage by the middle of enxt week.

The West Branch Du Page River near Warrenville reached 17 feet overnight, well above the flood stage of 11.5 feet, but should drop by about 4 a.m. Saturday below the 11-foot flood stage. The East Branch near Bolingbrook also crested about 26 feet deep. A gradual decline over the next few days is expected, though it may not fall back below flood stage until Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The Du Page River near Plainfield and at Shorewood both reached major flood stage Thursday morning and rose through Friday morning.

The Little Calumet River in South Holland and Munster, Ind. both reached moderate flood levels but the river is expected to begin dropping later today.

Thursdays storm caused widespread road closures Thursday. At various points throughout the day, Illinois State Police had to close the Edens, Kennedy, Dan Ryan, Bishop Ford and Eisenhower expressways. Roads under viaducts throughout Chicago also flooded, forcing CTA buses to find ways around the standing water.

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Chicago suburbs prepare for the rivers to crest as they struggle with flood conditions.

Massive flooding around the Chicago area yesterday also prompted Governor Quinn to issue a state of emergency.

Raw video of Des Plaines area

Skycam 9 over flooded area on North Ave near the Eisenhower Expressway