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Flood Watch in Chicago: Rain, Melting Snow, 60-mph Winds to Hit City

By Erica Demarest | February 20, 2014 7:08am
  A flood watch is in effect through 3 p.m. Thursday.
A flood watch is in effect through 3 p.m. Thursday.
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Getty Images Files/Scott Olson

CHICAGO — With a forecast calling for thunderstorms and winds as high as 60 mph, the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and high wind warning.

Heavy rains and scattered thunderstorms slammed Chicago Thursday morning, making for a slow-moving commute.

"We're going through the worst of it now," meteorologist Amy Seeley said. "It'll be less throughout the day, but it's still going to rain all day."

Afternoon temperatures are expected to hit the high 50s. As snow melts and at least an inch of rain accumulates, meteorologists said, flooding is possible across the city.

As of 6:45 a.m., State Police had reported one minor crash on Interstate 94 northbound near 130th Street. Police said they didn't expect the crash to affect traffic.

Crews are working to clear debris from catch basins and free up access to the sewer system, the Mayor's Office said. Anyone who sees flooding should call 311.

A flood watch is in effect through 3 p.m. Thursday.

The thunderstorms will bring heavy winds, according to the weather service. Morning estimates were at 10-15 mph, with speeds increasing to 15-30 mph by afternoon.

In the early evening, temperatures will drop drastically, to the low 20s, as winds pick up, moving an average of 25-40 mph, with gusts hitting up to 60 mph by the end of the night.

A high wind warning is in effect from 5-11 p.m.

Rain should slow overnight, but Friday will be very windy, meteorologists said. Temperatures should be in the low 30s, and winds will move 25-45 mph during the day.