Severe Storm Creates Travel Headaches At O'Hare, Across Chicago Region

Steve Miller
September 03, 2018 - 2:35 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Storms ripping across Chicago on Monday afternoon wreaked havoc at O'Hare International Airport -- and torrential downpours, small hail, frequent lightning and high winds are expected to continue throughout the night.

By early evening, powerful storms led to 344 flight cancellations and delays of more than an hour at O’Hare, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. 

Getting to the airport was no easier: I-190 at Mannheim is shut down due to flooding. Travel delays were so long, that many ticket holders left their cars roadside and walked to their gates, as Tanya Iovino captured in a tweet:

Travelers who made it inside O'Hare also reported what appeared to be storm-related damage in Terminal 5.

One passenger said it seemed like water was coming down from above.

"It looked like it was raining inside," Ryan Kettering said.

Kettering said there was about an inch of water in some parts of the terminal, and he had to walk carefully to avoid getting his feet wet.

"There was people literally about - I'd say - a quarter-mile back on the highway that are walking with their luggage to get to the building because they had it shut down.  There was no moving traffic," he said. 

The Chicago Department of Aviation said, it "is working with its airline partners to address flooding at the airport caused by the heavy rain storm that passed through the area."

So far, Midway has canceled one flight. Delays there are roughly 16 minutes.

Quick-moving rains pummeled Chicago and the region around 2 p.m., causing highstanding water, beach closures, flash-flood warnings and intermittent power outages. The National Weather Service expects storms with winds up to 60 mph to continue until 11 p.m.

The flash-flood warnings were expected to remain in place in most areas until midnight.

Thousands of people remained without power as of 5 p.m., Commonwealth Edison reported, including:

  • 8,503 in Cook County
  • 880 in DuPage County
  • 202 in Lake County
  • 251 in McHenry County
  • 131 in Will County

Strong storms also created tornado-like conditions that threatened Lakemoor in Lake and McHenry counties. No major damage was reported there.

This is breaking news. Check back for more.

Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2018 also contributed to this report.