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Tremendous Flash Flood in Chicago

Aired August 2, 2001 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Let's start, though, with our Jeff Flock, our Chicago bureau chief. He is above the Eden expressway, watching this flash flooding that we've been telling you about this morning -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Donna. What a mess this morning in Chicago. Yesterday of course with the heat, and once the heat broke, these tremendous thundershowers, which were really not forecast. There were some showers forecast, but what has happened is a tremendous flash flood. Good news at this hour, the water is beginning to clear.

As you report, I am right at the point where you have pictures, to Eden's Expressway, which is Route 94, heading north out of Chicago, and Pratt Avenue, and this is where the expressway was completely inundated. I think seven, perhaps eight feet of water in places at one point. Now that water is beginning to going down. We have road crews working to try to clear the drains and clear the vehicles. There was a van stuck, two other cars, completely swamped at this location. This is tremendously uncommon for Chicago, very flat here. We don't have the big rivers that overflows, and usually pretty good storm sewer system that drains the water. This was a tremendous amount of water. Some parts of the city reporting as much as 4 inches in an hour and a half, which is just a tremendous amount of water -- Donna.

KELLEY: It sure is. I know you're above the Eden Expressway. I guess various other highways are closed around the Chicago area. Have you had a chance to check in on those and heard anything about that yet?

FLOCK: Indeed, I can tell you that the Ryan Expressway, which is the city's big downtown expressway, is closed, at one point between, 83rd and 87th Street. The what they call "Hubbard's Cave," which is artery that kind of goes through downtown, where everything sort of comes together, that is described by the Illinois Department of Transportation about 10 minutes ago as impassable, a lot viaducts flooded around the city, just making it impossible to get from point a to point b in the city, and of course this all coming in at rush hour in the morning and just spilling out now. In Chicago it is not tragedy, but is a mess.

KELLEY: Yes, I love the Eden Expressway. I think those are the pictures that we were looking at earlier, and it looked like some of the traffic was trying to make a turn there or turn around and go back. Are they able to do that. We're looking at some pictures courtesy of WBBM right now, and we can see some of that traffic, Jeff, that's just backed, it looks like, for miles.

FLOCK: Yes, what they started to do, is when they realized they couldn't get through, they began turning around. The northbound lanes, for example, began turning around and heading back southbound in the northbound lanes, and what they've done now is been able to clear much of the Eden -- the location that I am right now, in that they turn people around and have the traffic going just whichever way they could make out, because, you know, people were trapped between two flooded areas of the expressway.

KELLEY: Yes, it doesn't look too good. So we'll have you keep us posted.

Jeff Flock on the phone with us about the Chicago floodings.

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