Storms Hit Midwest – Dump Heavy Rains

Sunday was a wet day in the Chicago area as thunderstorms produced short yet heavy downpours of rain. Between one-half to one inch of rain fell on the Windy City between 11am to mid-afternoon. As a result, low lying areas quickly filled with water as the dark, menacing clouds moved across the area from the southwest. Nearly 2,000 ComEd customers were left without power due to the stormy weather.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Cook County early Monday which was to remain in effect through the morning hours. There have been no major reports of serious flooding as of Monday morning but the forecasts call for more showers in the afternoon so there is still a chance for flooding in some areas.

On Sunday, thunderstorms developed across north-central Illinois ahead of an approaching low pressure system, triggering the heavy rains. Over the weekend thunderstorm activity caused some damage in Park Ridge, a suburb of Chicago where a female driver had a very close call when a tree toppled onto her vehicle. The tree had been struck by lightening before it smashed into several vehicles that were parked on a street. The National Weather Service had warned that dangerous cloud-to-ground lightening could occur as the turbulent weather system moved across the Upper Midwest. May happens to be the deadliest month in the U.S. for lightening.

The bad weather also forced over 300 flights to be canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Sunday. Nearby Midway Airport also had delays which averaged about thirty minutes. The thunderstorms produced such high winds Sunday that several cars of a freight train were flipped over and derailed near Peoria, south of Chicago. The train was moving west at the time that it was hit by the winds and in all, twenty-one cars were affected.

Several states were threatened by severe weather Sunday. Warm, moist air stretching over an area from the deep south to the Ohio Valley is putting many states in the line of fire of more severe storms today (Monday) and this evening.