A series of powerful thunderstorms that rolled over the Windy City area this week resulted in thousands losing power and flooding in the south side of Chicago. Many residents in parts of Chicago spent the good part of Wednesday cleaning up after the storms pounded the area. Several counties in the greater Chicago area were under flash flood warnings early Wednesday as torrential downpourings of up to two inches of rain per hour were in the forecast.
The hardest hit area was south of Chicago where over 10,000 people lost power. Those people living in some low-lying areas or along local streams reported having several inches of water inside their basements. Viaduct across Chicago Land were flooded and crews were busy responding to downed powerlines.
The National Weather Service warned Chicago area residents not to let their guard down because another round of thunderstorms is heading their way. The temperatures Thursday will hover in the mid-80s while rain will linger over the area for most of the evening. There will be a break in the rain but by Friday night, more rain is expected to fall and hang around until Saturday afternoon.
Chicago residents are not the only mid-westerners who are being told to be wary of the weather. People living in Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan also are being told that they’re at risk for heavy thunderstorms, torrential rains, hail and even tornadoes. The same powerful storms that have been dumping rain earlier in the week on parts of Kansas, Missouri, S. Dakota and Illinois are moving into the Great Lakes region, bringing with it risk of flooding and wind damage.
Parts of southern lower Michigan already experienced tornadoes with this new system as there were several funnel cloud sightings Tuesday. One that stands out is a tornado that was sighted at 10pm near Goodrich, MI, that touched down very close to a school. Parts of the Great Lakes State also has experienced high winds and severe thunderstorms that did significant damage to several homes.
Residents in San Antonio, Texas spent the weekend dealing with flash flooding caused by torrential rainfall. The flooding claimed the lives of two people and resulted in the rescue of dozens stranded in vehicles and homes. In all, the city’s fire department conducted over 230 water rescues across San Antonio with some being made by inflatable boats.
Some homeowners living in low-lying areas of the city reported that they had four feet or more of water in their homes. The water was so deep and fast moving that it even swept a city transit bus away. Firefighters using a boat were able to pluck the three passengers and driver out of the bus so that no one was hurt. The airport in San Antonio recorded 9.85 inches of rain since midnight Friday which is what caused every stream and river in the area to experienced outrageous flooding. The most rain recorded since Friday midnight was 15 ½ inches in Olmos Creek at Dresden Drive.
There was a flash flood warning in effect for 24 Texas counties Saturday as forecasters were warning that up to 5 inches of rain could fall by Sunday morning. Residents of San Antonio took the warnings seriously as they remember all too well the deadly flooding that occurred in October of 1998 when 30 inches of rain came down in a 48 hour period. That flooding claimed the lives of 30 people.
The dramatic flash flooding that struck San Antonio over the weekend put the area under a flash flood emergency. The mayor of the city urged residents to stay at home because of the many dangers that are associated with fast moving flood waters. He told people that if they have to travel by car to observe high water warnings and to use common sense.
During the peak of the rainfall Saturday, over 12,000 people lost power and dozens of streets were closed due to flooding in San Antonio. Saturday’s heavy downpouring of rain was San Antonio’s second wettest day in history and if forecasters are right, Sunday may be a record-breaker as well. The National Weather Service warns that “heavy downpours” could drop another four inches of rain overnight Saturday to cause more flash flooding on the already very saturated ground. Some areas could see six inches of rain. There is an 80 percent chance of rain through Sunday.
Residents living in West Tennessee and the southern portion of Illinois are beginning to wonder if Mother Nature will ever let up. Following last weekend’s heavy thunderstorms that rolled across the region and which dumped heavy rainfall that caused widespread flooding, the same type of weather is being forecast for this weekend. The National Weather Service is warning people living in western Tennessee and the southern portion of Illinois that more flood may occur as anywhere from two to four inches of rain will likely fall from early Saturday through Sunday evening. The service has a flood watch in effect for a large area across the Tennessee Valley and is warning people to stay away from rivers and streams which are already at or very near flood stage. People are also being warned by local weather experts that flash flooding can occur very quickly and that it can sweep entire automobiles away in a matter of seconds. People are being warned never to attempt driving on any flooded roadway and to turn around and find an alternate route if they come upon a flooded road.
Several areas in southern Illinois dealt with flooding last weekend and with more rain on the way, that spells trouble not only for homeowners but also for farmers who were hoping to plant their crops in April. The National Weather Service reported that Jackson County’s Big Muddy River has reached flood stage already and that the Mississippi River near Cape Girardeau is at moderate flood stage. Both rivers could overflow their banks this coming weekend as they simply can’t handle several more inches of rainfall.
The governor of Illinois said Thursday that his state’s residents have to come together to help the homeowners across the state whose properties sustained flood damage during the past two weeks. He declared forty-eight areas across his state as disaster zones because of the floods. He went on to remind flood victims of how important it is to document the flood damage they have in their homes or on their properties so that they could seek available government assistance which they may be eligible for.