More torrential rain worsened flooding in the Midwest, spawning high water that swept away an Iowa teenager, caused a traffic nightmare near one of the nation’s busiest airports and threatened to swamp a Missouri town for the fifth time in less than a decade.
More than 3 inches of rain fell over much of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois on Monday night and Tuesday morning, and some areas got up to 5 inches of rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Fuchs said, capping a week of downpours in the region.
Six Midwest states — North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri — were dealing with significant flooding and there were pockets in some other states. By the weekend, the Mississippi River will be at major flood stage along many Iowa, Illinois and Missouri communities, forecasters said. River flooding could close highways, potentially top levees and threaten some homes and businesses.
The Mississippi River rise came suddenly after a spate of thunderstorms in the last month, Fuchs said.
“The spring wasn’t that terribly bad. It was minor flooding, kind of ho-hum,” he said.
In Iowa, rescue crews on Tuesday afternoon recovered the body of 17-year-old Logan Blake, who was swept away in a Cedar Rapids storm drain Monday night. Authorities say his body was found in 3 feet of water in a lake one mile away. Blake was with friends on the grounds of an elementary school when he was pulled into the drain by fast-moving water.
The storms were blamed for two deaths in Indiana, where trees fell on homes early Tuesday, killing 14-year-old Daniel Holbrook in Winona Lake and 64-year-old Larry Davisson at Big Long Lake; and in Iowa, where a man died when a building collapsed in high winds.
The sudden rain overwhelmed the Kennedy Expressway, a major Chicago thoroughfare that runs to O’Hare International Airport. All but a single lane of traffic heading to the airport was closed for several hours Tuesday because of standing water. Some desperate air travelers were getting out of taxis and hauling luggage the rest of the way to the airport.
Karen Pride, a spokeswoman for Chicago’s aviation department, said Tuesday that some 125 flights at O’Hare had been canceled.
In Kane County, Ill., west of Chicago, storms washed out a stretch of an unlit, rural road and created a 10-foot sinkhole that a Ford Taurus drove into early Tuesday, trapping both occupants. No one was seriously hurt.