According to an article from the Chicago Sun-Times , Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Illinois as the Chicagoland area continued to receive an onslaught of heavy downpours. The extreme weather has forced expressway closures due to major flooding and dangerous conditions. Similarly, areas along rivers have experienced flooded houses and businesses.
Here are some facts and details about the state of emergency declaration and the damage the Chicagoland area is facing as a result of receiving nearly 5 inches of rain in the past 24 hours:
* Quinn traveled to the Chicago area to tour flood damage, including the suburb of Elmhurst, which was one of the hardest hit areas.
* The governor told reporters, "Heavy rainfall over the past few days has created dangerous flooding in areas across the state. Everyone should stay home and off the roads if possible. To ensure safety as these storms continue, people should be alert and avoid flooded areas," noted NBC Chicago .
* He also has activated the State Incident Response Center to assess damage help towns receive disaster assistance quicker.
* More than 400 area schools have closed their doors for the day and towns have closed public roads due to flooded conditions.
* The Chicago Tribune reported that in Lake County, the public works department has sent close to 200,000 sandbags to towns and is trying to obtain more from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
* Some residents living near the Fox River in South Elgin have had to evacuate their homes. A hospital and two trailer parks in Morris also had to be evacuated.
* Chicago's Edens, Eisenhower, and Kennedy expressways are closed because of flooding and open expressways are experiencing heavy delays, according to CBS Chicago .
* The CTA is operating L lines without any significant delays, but several buses have had to be rerouted because of road closures.
* At O'Hare International Airport, more than 600 flights were cancelled due to the weather and other delays are in effect. Midway Airport saw 30 cancelled flights.
* The suburban towns of Des Plaines, Elmhurst, Gurnee, Lombard, River Grove, Schiller Park, and Villa Park have declared their own states of emergency.
* Chicago has opened the Chicago River locks to flow water into Lake Michigan after the river had risen by six feet. As of 12:30 p.m., Chicago had received more than 1,200 reports of flooded basements and 425 reports of flooded streets.
* A flash flood warning remains in effect for the area until 8 p.m. on Thursday with river flood warnings extended through Friday night.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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