Storm Touches Arlington Heights Before Developing Into Full Blown Severe Storm that Drowns Sewer Worker in Chicago

About 2:30 p.m. Wednesday storms started developing near Rockford, but diminished as they approached the northwest suburbs. The same band that diminished near Arlington Heights and Schaumburg, strengthen in the southwest suburbs. Weather conditions changed just before 6:00 p.m. A thunderstorm that developed in southwest McHenry County passed just to the southwest of Arlington Heights, sending fire crews in Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and Streamwood to check on possible lightning strikes, power surges affecting fire alarms, and other possible storm damage. In unincorporated Palatine in Plum Grove Estates, a tree was on fire about 40 feet in the air near Longacres Lane and Circle Drive.

This storm blew up from only a small thunderstorm cell in the southwest corner of McHenry County in a matter of two hours.

Thunderstorms developed as they headed southeast toward Chicago. Reports of flooded viaducts, trees branches and power lines down, lightning strikes, and flooded basements started arriving at the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and 911 center.

At about 8:45 p.m. Chicago firefighters were called to rescue a sewer worker who was trapped while he worked to reline a sewer near Rockwell and Elston. Initially two workers were trapped, but one was able to escape. Fire crews from some parts of the city had difficulty accessing the scene because of flooded streets and flooded viaducts.

Teams that specialize in Trench Rescue, Collapse Rescue, Tunnel Rescue, and a Scuba Dive Master were called to the scene. The man’s body was located near Rockwell and Barry around 10:30 p.m. Gustavo Bricino, age 25, was pronounced dead at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center shortly after 11 p.m.

Kenny Construction was hired by the city to reline sewers with plastic.

The National Weather Service office in Chicago issued a Flash Flood Warning at about 8:15 PM (by 8:22 PM) Wednesday effective until 2:30 AM Thursday.

Firefighters checked several stranded vehicles in viaducts. Several people were rescued by firefighters. Some vehicles were totally submerged, but were already abandoned. Firefighters reported water as deep as 4 feet and 7 feet in many viaducts.

At 27th Street and Wentworth a person was rescued from their vehicle.

Other flooded areas included …
15th and Wood, 16th and Wood
2500 Odgen, Ogden and Western
Racine and 14th to Racine and 16th
Several other viaducts were also flooded as police blocked several roadways to prevent people from driving into flooded areas.

The Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) was flooded in both directions from Western Avenue to Ashland Avenue.

About 2.0 – 3.5 inches of rain fell across the City of Chicago while just under 0.1 inch of rain fell in north Arlington Heights. Thunderstorm wind damage was reported in Park Ridge with a tree branch over one foot diameter downed, hail was report in Harwood Heights, and 1.57 inch of rain was reported in River Grove.

ComEd Outage Map at about 8:14 p.m. Wednesday.

About 15,000 ComEd customers were without power at the peak of last night’s outages. Tree branches and high winds brought down several power lines. Chicago firefighters are still discovering downed trees Thursday morning — some completely blocking roadways.


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Arlington Heights Fire Engine