The Aurora Flood of July 17-18, 1996

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,
We are observing the 25th anniversary of The Aurora Flood. My basement was flooded and most of my neighborhood was underwater. Could you recap that event?
—Mike G. Aurora
Dear Mike,
That benchmark flood occurred on July 17-18, 1996 and affected the entire Chicago area. Waves of thunderstorms repeatedly developed along a corridor from near Rockford to just north of Kankakee, bringing incredible amounts of precipitation, along with major flooding. Aurora was at the epicenter of the heaviest precipitation, logging 16.91 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, an Illinois record. Much of the metro area received more than 8 inches of rain. Brandon Dam near Joliet measured 13.60 inches, while nearly 11 inches fell on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Eight people died in the flood, and damage totaled more than a half-billion dollars.

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