CHICAGO (AP) — The sunny skies that started melting the snow in earnest this week gave way to steady rain — and more melting — in Chicago Thursday morning, causing some flooding and raising commuters' fears that they will later be confronted by submerged streets, sidewalks and basements.
"It flooded in front of my house up to my boot," said Lisa Robertson, a 50-year-old computer operator, after she got off a train in Chicago from her home in the suburbs south of the city. "Last night we made sure nothing was on the floor of the basement."
Others said they were taking precautions such as stacking belongings in their basements atop milk crates, while others merely hoped their basements would not be lakes when they arrived home.
Ruth Muscato, 66, said the streets near her home in suburban Oak Lawn were flooded but not impassable.
"But my husband had a doctor's appointment and the doctor called him (and said), 'I can't get out of my house, I'm totally flooded,'" Muscato said after disembarking from a train in downtown Chicago.
Meanwhile, Thursday promised to be a gray, sloppy stew of rain, sleet and some snow — a far cry from Wednesday when the streets and parks were crowded with joggers, mothers pushing strollers, and people walking their dogs on what seemed like the first sunny, relatively warm day in months.
A whole new layer of snow and sleet was forecast to accumulate early Thursday, particularly across Wisconsin, northern Illinois and parts of Indiana, before temperatures rise and change the precipitation to rain, according to the National Weather Service. The warmer temperatures may be accompanied by fog and strong winds that could reach 50 miles per hour.
Ahead of Thursday's rain, communities and private companies spent the day before clearing catch basins of debris and answering calls from worried homeowners and businesses to load up their snow so that it melts somewhere else.