Thunderstorms dropped up to 5 inches of rain on the Chicago area Thursday,
closing expressways as the Chicago River flooded low-lying areas, officials
On the South Side, water reached the roofs of cars, the Chicago Tribune reported.
A sinkhole opened in a southeast neighborhood, swallowing three cars. Firefighters pulled one person from the hole who was hospitalized in serious-to-critical condition, WGN-TV reported.
The third car slid into the hole after crews arrived at the scene.
In the suburb of Libertyville, part of a high school building sank a foot into the ground, fire officials said. More than 100 schools have been closed for the day.
At O'Hare International Airport more than 300 flights were cancelled and another 150 delayed. Metra trains were delayed by up to 45 minutes, the Chicago Sun-times reported.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Cook and three other counties in Illinois and Lake County in Indiana, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Commuters had been advised to stay home.
The Chicago River had risen more than 6 feet, triggering a system that opened locks and pushed the water into Lake Michigan, said an official with the Water Reclamation district.
By 7 a.m., flooding in the community of Hillside was severe enough that police evacuated residents from a one-story apartment building.
The Chicago storm is part of a system over the middle Mississippi Valley that may have the potential to be severe, Accuweather.com reported.
Flooding and mudslides have been reported in Iowa, and high winds in Texas. Low water crossings in Mayes, Okla., were underwater early Thursday morning after the area had received more than 3 inches of rain.
In Grove, Okla., the county's emergency management director, Robert Real, said three homes were destroyed by tornado-like winds, The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman reported.
Real said several minor injuries were reported, but no one was hospitalized.
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