May 31, 2018

Northwest Chicago Suburbs Receive Record Rainfall

The remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto led Chicago’s northwest suburbs to experience severe flooding and standing water

Chicago experiences record floods and rainfall for May
Chicago experiences record floods and rainfall for May

On May 30, the remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto hit Chicago, causing record levels of rainfall and substantial flooding. 7.64 in. of rain were recorded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport this month, beating the previous record of 7.59 in. for wettest May in 1945, according the The Chicago Tribune. The heavy rains triggers floods in the northwestern suburbs, leading to road closures and, in some case, boat rescues.

The downpour, which fell during evening rush hour, left many drivers stranded or driving through standing water. Nearly 3 in. of rain fell in Hoffman Estates and rescue boats were deployed on the intersection of the Northwest Highway and Exmoor Avenue in Barrington, NBC Chicago reported. In Elgin, a lightning strike caused a fire on the roof of a business in the 700-block of Tollgate Road.

A flood warning was in effect for the west and northwest suburbs, which were hit the hardest. Standing water particularly became a problem at low-lying parking lots and intersections, where the storm water drainage systems were overwhelmed. Combined sewer overflows was a concern for Chicago residents, as the city’s storm sewer system is connected to the wastewater system. 

According to ABC Chicago, the severe weather also impacted airport traffic, as O’Hare reported 311 cancellations and delays averaging 48 minutes, while Midway reported 15 cancellations and delays approximately 15 minutes.