Streams peak in Illinois following stormy winter weather

By Rupa Shenoy

CHICAGO – Scattered flood warnings remain in effect across Illinois, but in most communities, residents and officials breathed a sigh of relief Sunday that roads and homes were wet but not waterlogged.

“We were prepared and we got lucky,” said Mike Quan, communications officer for the Riverside police department. Authorities in the Chicago suburb had been bracing for the worst and encouraged residents along the Des Plaines River to evacuate Saturday night as water rose.

But Quan said Sunday evening that Riverside didn’t end up having a problem with flooding and didn’t have to close any roads, as in the past when the river got high.

The Des Plaines River crested Sunday morning at the city of Des Plaines at nearly 7 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Flood stage there is 5 feet.

Des Plaines authorities closed a main road for about 10 hours during the night because of water from an overflowing retention pond, said Don Meseth, director of emergency management for the city of Des Plaines.

“There were a few reports of water in basements,” Meseth said.

The weather service expected waterways swollen with Saturday’s mixture of heavy rainfall and snowmelt to slowly fall during the week.

Following a week of heavy snow, ice and subzero temperatures, highs were in the 30s Sunday in the Chicago area, following Saturday’s high of 61. Farther east, New York City residents relaxed as temperatures headed for the mid 60s Sunday.

Flood warnings were posted Sunday over sections of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and northwest Ohio, the National Weather Service said.

Some low-lying roads were flooded early Sunday in southwest and central Missouri, the weather service said.

In Michigan, wind gusted to more than 60 mph Sunday in Michigan, knocking down tree limbs and power lines and blacking out about 355,000 homes and businesses. Parts of the state also got about 4 inches of snow.

“We’ve had an intensifying storm system track northeast through the state,” said Mark Sekelsky, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. said about 215,000 of its customers had no electricity Sunday afternoon, and CMS Energy Corp. subsidiary Consumers Energy said about 140,000 of its customers were blacked out.

DTE spokesman Len Singer said more outages were possible and it could be days before power is fully restored. “We’re still assessing,” he said.