Chicago flooding: Expressways shut, flights grounded, schools closed

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Flooding spawned by as much as 5 inches of rain closed the Edens, Eisenhower and Kennedy expressways during the morning rush as waves of thunderstorms raked across the Chicago area.

The storms also forced the cancellation of more than 300 of flights and closed hundreds of schools in the Chicago area. Metra reported stopped trains and delays on nearly every line.

The first expressway closures occurred around 5 a.m. The Edens Expressway was closed between Foster and Touhy avenues and between Winnetka and Willow roads, and the Eisenhower Expressway in both directions between North Avenue and York Road and westbound at Mannheim Road, Illinois State Police said. The southbound Kennedy Expressway was closed at Addison Street, police said.

As of 8 a.m., some of the expressways were opened but there were other closures. The Edens was closed in both directions between Lake Street and Dundee Road; the westbound ramp from Interstate 290 to Interstate 88 was shut down, westbound 290 was closed at St. Charles Road, and eastbound 290 was closed at York Road; two lanes were closed on the Bishop Ford northbound between 130th Street and the Beaubien Woods.

Travel times during the morning rush ran at least two hours or longer in some areas.

Flooding along the Chicago River and across low-lying areas also closed parts of North Side thoroughfares: Foster Avenue between Pulaski and Central Park avenues, Petersen Avenue between Pulaski Road and Kedvale Avenue, and Elston Avenue at Kilpatrick Avenue.

On the South Side, flooding closed the intersection of 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue, with water reaching the roofs of cars. One man drove into the water and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Also closed was 71st Street between Cottage Grove Avenue and St. Lawrence Avenue under the Interstate 90 viaduct, and the intersection of 63rd Street and Dorchester Road. Water could be seen bubbling from manhole covers along Lower Wacker Drive.

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Heavy flooding covers the local lanes of eastbound I-88 at the 290 merge. (Kurt Gessler / Chicago Tribune)