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One way to prevent widespread flooding: severe thunderstorms

July 28, 2011

Some rain (1.15″) materialized yesterday in Carol Stream, as a fire hose of moisture that generated massive 13 1/2″ rain amounts near Galena pushed moisture our way throughout the night. However, the big story of the night ended up being severe weather.

A suspected microburst – a downward rush of waterlogged air that generates 90-110mph winds – struck the area around Thunderbird Trail and Gary Avenue last night and blasted outwards from that area. The exact area of damage is not clearly known at this time, but a 2′ diameter tree fell at the corner of Illini Drive and Arrowhead Trail. Large branches were ripped off trees in a line from Kuhn Road at Thunderbird Trail to Gary Avenue at Thunderbird Trail.

Down Thunderbird Trail, however, widespread tree damage was observed. Most trees lost three or four large branches, and some trees may have been uprooted and thrown onto houses. This type of damage is consistent with winds much greater than the 60-65 mph winds that I estimated at 12:30 AM.

The severe weather resulted in an area of subsidence behind the storms deflecting moisture to the south, around Carol Stream, after the power went out and the storms passed.

The threat for heavy rain is not over – the area is in a moderate risk for flash flooding. A post focusing on that aspect of tonight’s weather will be up later.

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