The August 1987 Chicago area storms

Ask Tom Why?

Dear Tom,
I remember the tremendous thunderstorms and rain we had in August 1987. Wasn’t this a multi-day event?
—Bernie Ziegler Crystal Lake
Dear Bernie,
It was. August, 1987 opened hot and dry in Chicago with just 0.39 inches of rain through the 12th. With a moisture-laded front setting up west of the city, t-storms began the evening of the 13th and continued for 17 hours, as repeat waves of torrential downpours “trained” across areas from Rockford to Chicago’s North Side. When the rains finally ended, 9.35 inches had inundated the O’Hare area, making it an inaccessible island for nearly 24 hours. The rains continued with 0.59 inches on the 15th and another 2.90 inches on the 16th. Another round of heavy storms dumped 2.46 inches on the 26th. When August ended, O’Hare had logged a staggering 17.10 inches, making it the city’s wettest month on record.

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