Saturday storms bring multiple severe weather warnings as tornado sirens sounded across Chicago area for second time in a week

Saturday storms bring multiple severe weather warnings as tornado sirens sounded across Chicago area for second time in a week
·3 min read

For the second time in a week, tornado sirens sounded across the Chicagoland region Saturday and people took cover as weather officials issued multiple severe weather warnings. Storms brought gusty winds, torrential downpours and flooded roadways.

Thunderstorms could continue into Saturday evening and could be dangerous at times, the National Weather Service said. There is a flash flood warning until 9:45 p.m. and a tornado watch until 7 p.m. covering much of the area. Concerns about flooding could continue into early next week, with more showers and storms expected.

Jake Petr, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said there were unofficial reports of funnel clouds in Crete and Chatsworth from a storm that went through in early afternoon. Some storm spotters in Crete reported that a tornado may have touched down. But there had not been any reports of significant damages due to a tornado as of Saturday afternoon.

Any reports of funnel clouds or touch downs have to be confirmed through pictures, with county officials or sometimes though damage surveys after the tornado threat is over, Petr said.

Areas southeast of I-55 remained under a tornado watch until 7 p.m., Petr said, because the atmosphere was still favorable for tornado formations.

Here’s information on how to make sure you are set up to receive tornado warnings and alerts. Here’s what to do when you hear a tornado siren.

Mike Bardou, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the area along and southeast of I-55 saw the bulk of the showers and thunderstorms. On the high end, some isolated areas received 2 to 3 inches of rain. More areas in Cook County saw closer to 1 to 2 inches of rain.

A new flash flood warning was issued at 3:50 p.m. and remained in effect until 9:45 p.m. Saturday for the Chicagoland region. The National Weather Service watch said flooding was possible in low-lying areas including farm fields, ditches and roads. Water levels may also rise in rivers and streams.

“If there’s any kind of flooding ... turn around, don’t drown,” Bardou said. “Any high water, standing water, it’s good to avoid.”

Earlier there were reports of flash flooding on Lake Shore Drive, the Eisenhower Expressway was closed in both directions because of water on the roadway, and then while awaiting cleanup, and Blue Line service was temporarily suspended between UIC/Halsted and Forest Park because of standing water.

The Chicago Fire Department warned drivers not to enter viaducts if water is high enough to touch your wheel rim, as the department had to make several rescues Saturday after cars stalled.

Saturday’s storms marked the second time in a week that tornado sirens sounded in parts of Chicagoland. On Sunday, at least two tornadoes struck the Chicago area, and a third touched down in northwest Indiana. The most destructive touched down in Naperville, Woodridge and Darien, and was categorized as an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. It damaged more than 200 houses and other structures, and reduced some to rubble.

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