Was the Chicago area hit by nearly 20 inches of rain in a 24-hour period sometime in the mid-90s?

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Dear Tom,
I remember the Chicago area being hit by nearly 20 inches of rain in a 24-hour period,  sometime in the mid-90s. Can you provide the details?

Thanks,
Don Slomczewski Bloomington

Dear Don,

It wasn’t 20 inches, but there was a lot of rain. The benchmark flood occurred on July 17-18, 1996, when waves of thunderstorms developed from near Rockford to just north of Kankakee. The Aurora area was at the epicenter, receiving an incredible 16.91 inches of rain in 24 hours, an Illinois record. Much of the area got more than 8 inches of rain, including more than 13.5 inches near Joliet and nearly 11 inches on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Eight perished, and damage exceeded a half-billion dollars. Officially, Chicago’s heaviest 24-hour rainfall occurred on Aug. 13-14, 1987, when 9.35 inches inundated the O’Hare area, turning the airport into an island.

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