Update 2:05 p.m. Showers and thunderstorms faded away to drizzle this afternoon across Evanston after over four inches of rain fell overnight and into the morning. City officials reported reported dozens of flooded basements.
At a late morning news conference, Utilities Director Dave Stoneback said the city had received 80 calls about flooded basements and Public Works Director Suzette Robinson said the city would be offering free bulk trash pickups next week for water-soaked debris from the storm.
Stoneback said 4.16 inches of rain fell at the Evanston Water Plant between midnight and 11:30 a.m.
With so much water falling in such a short time frame, sewers became overwhelmed -- resulting in the basement flooding.
In other locations, including along Central Street, the pressure of the water in the sewers dislodged manhole covers and resulted in water flowing onto the street. Stoneback said all of those had been put back in place.
Top: The walkway to the floating dock at the rowing center on the North Shore Channel at Oakton Street was deep under water. Above: A flooded playground at Elnora Smith Park on Ashland Avenue at Lyons Street.
Among the properties affected by the storm was the Three Crowns Park retirement community, where water in the basement led to concerns that the water might rise high enough to affect the building's electric service and require a switch to backup generator power. But city crews helped with sandbags and managed to keep the water level down enough to prevent that.
The heavy rainfall, on top of storms earlier in the week, forced Metropolitan Water Resources District officials to open the sluice gates at Wilmette Harbor, allowing storm and sanitary sewer water to pour into Lake Michigan.
Stoneback said the water level in the North Shore Channel was higher than he'd ever seen it before.
Northwestern University officials reported classes were held on a normal schedule today but flooding or water seepage was reported in many buildings on the Evanston campus.
Because of the flooding the Sports and Aquatics Center was closed for the day and dining service wasn't available at Willard Hall and was slower than normal in other locations because many employees had difficulty getting to the campus.
Several hundred ComEd customers were without power starting after especially heavy storms rolled through about 4 a.m. The utility now reports less than 100 customers out -- with the largest outage east of St. Francis Hospital along Custer Avenue.l.
The rain is expected to continue through the day, but Streets and Sanitation Superintendent James Maiworm said latest weather reports showed that the worst of the storm appeared to be over.
Conditions were considerably worse in other parts of the metro area with portions of three expressways -- the Edens, Eisenhower and Kennedy -- closed by flooding and volunteers piling sandbags around homes along the Des Plaines River.
Robinson said the special pickups of storm debris next week would occur on regular trash pickup days, but that the extra work for the city crews might mean recycling pickups could be delayed by a day or two.
Fire officials reported roughly double their usual number of calls for the 24-hour shift that ended at 7 a.m. today, and the city's 311 center received 420 calls between 7 and 11:30 a.m. -- more than twice the number of calls the center handles during an entire typical day.