The National Weather Service Wednesday morning issued an flash flood emergency warning in Lake County, urging people to immediately move to higher ground, after storms overwhelmed the area with water.
It was only the latest development in the widespread flooding in north suburban Lake County that has closed roads and halted Metra trains after a series of scattered thunderstorms hit the area overnight.
The weather service also warned about hail and strong thunderstorms in DuPage and northern Cook counties, from Kenilworth to Carol Stream.
A flash flood warning previously had been issued until 11 a.m. Wednesday for Lake County and parts of northwest suburban McHenry County.
At the height of the storms, more than 51,000 ComEd customers lost power, according to a ComEd spokesman. As of 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, 28,000 customers remain without power, most in the northern suburbs. Crews are working to get power restored as soon as it is safe to do so.
At least 435 flights had been canceled at O’Hare as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and flight delays were averaging 45 minutes, according to the city’s Dept. of Aviation. At Midway, 18 flights been canceled and delays were averaging 23 minutes.
By early Wednesday afternoon, up to 6.5 inches of rain had fallen across parts of Lake County, resulting in significant flooding that made several roads impassible. Many water storage areas are full or over capacity, and additional rains will continue to cause problems, and the Fox and Des Plaines rivers are projected to be at upper moderate flood levels.
Standing water had closed several roads in Libertyville as of 6:25 a.m., including U.S. Route 45 between Peterson and Casey roads and Buckley Road between Milwaukee Avenue and St. Mary’s Road, according to Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani.
At least seven vehicles were stuck in high water, but all of the occupants were removed safely, Carani said.
The flooding also closed Lake Street between Maple Avenue and Division Street in Mundelein, the Mundelein Police Department reported.
As of 7 a.m., Metra trains in both directions on the Milwaukee District North Line were suspended between Fox Lake and Libertyville because of the flooding and a downed tree, according to Metra. By early afternoon, Milwaukee District North trains were running again from Chicago to Lake Forest, but no farther.
A Metra spokesman said the commuter railroad could have an update about afternoon rush-hour service between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Although the CTA was honoring commuters on the Blue Line, customers were urged to seek alternate transportation.
Though the tree has since been removed, according to Metra spokesman Michael Gillis, the water has not receded and once it does, workers will have to inspect the tracks and possibly replace switches.
There also was a washout near Illinois 120, north of Libertyville, so crews will have to lay new track structure in that area.
On the Union Pacific North Line, outbound trains were halted about 7 a.m. near Lake Bluff because a tree had fallen on the tracks, the transit agency reported.
Flooding in Lake County and Kenosha County, Wisconsin, also led to an Amtrak track closure, affecting Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee as of 7:45 a.m., according to a statement from Amtrak. No alternate transportation was made available during the service suspension.
High winds from the storms overnight knocked down trees and power lines, causing power outages in northwest suburban Elgin, the city said in a statement. The area between the Grand Victoria Casino and Liberty Street was affected by power outages, as was the area between Wilcox Avenue and Liberty south of Walnut Avenue
The Mundelein Seminary tweeted that its campus was closed to the public due to “heavy rains, flooding, downed trees and other dangerous weather conditions.”
While rain was still falling in some places, a total of 5.4 inches of rain had been reported near Gurnee as of 6 a.m., according to the weather service. Lake Villa saw 5.31 inches, while there were 4.29 inches near Elgin and 4.2 near Lindenhurst.
There is a slight chance of more showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m. Wednesday, then again after 1 a.m. Thursday, forecasters said.
Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this article