WBEZ | storms http://www.wbez.org/tags/storms Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Milwaukee finds a fix for stormwater overflows: Abandoned basements http://www.wbez.org/news/milwaukee-finds-fix-stormwater-overflows-abandoned-basements-110637 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/25164521_h11462610_wide-96a506c19aab1b1bce42266f9b315642cd20cf26-s40-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some basement flooding could become happy occurrences, if more cities walk in the watery footsteps of Milwaukee.</p><p>As part of a new citywide sustainability plan and <a href="http://www.refreshmke.com/" target="_blank">an attempt to reinvent itself as a &quot;fresh coast&quot; capital</a>, Milwaukee is upgrading its water systems, and is researching options for tackling its chronic problems with stormwater management.</p><p>The city recently released a feasibility study <a href="http://city.milwaukee.gov/ImageLibrary/Groups/In-the-News/BaseTernFEASIBILITYSTUDY3.pdf" target="_blank">that examines turning vacant basements into cisterns</a>, preventing the untreated runoff from reaching the local rivers or Lake Michigan. The idea is the brainchild of Erick Shambarger, the deputy director of the city&#39;s Office of Environmental Sustainability.</p><p>After Milwaukee experienced major storms and subsequent flooding in 2008, 2009 and <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/99893489.html" target="_blank">2010</a>, the city put together a Flooding Study Task Force, which included Shambarger.</p><p>A frequent topic of discussion was how to keep water out of people&#39;s basements. Milwaukee has a combined sewer system that collects both domestic waste and rainwater runoff, so when street flooding would overwhelm the sewer system, water and sewage would back up through the floor drains in people&#39;s basements.</p><p>While looking at a map of where the basement flooding was worst, Shambarger noticed that the location overlaps with the center of the city&#39;s foreclosure crisis. Hundreds of these foreclosed houses cannot be economically salvaged and are being razed by the city. Cue Shambarger&#39;s light bulb.</p><p>&quot;If we are going to demolish the house anyway and there&#39;s going to be a vacant lot there, why not keep the basement portion of it?&quot; he says. &quot;Let&#39;s get water into those basements, and in the process keep other basements dry. We are making good use of a hole in the ground that somebody put there for us.&quot;</p><p>Shambarger and his team called the idea a &quot;BaseTern&quot; and trademarked the name on behalf of the city. Curtis Hulterstrum, the senior water resource engineer at HNTB Corp., examined multiple options for how the basements could be converted and the way BaseTerns would manage stormwater. Essentially, the basements will be used to immediately take the pressure off the sewage system by diverting and holding street and roof water &quot;runoff&quot; until the storm is over.</p><p>Water would flow into the structure, which would be covered with turf grass, via drains on top of the basement. It could flow out of the basement into the sewer system via the standard floor drain, or by adding multiple holes in the basement floor to allow some water to sink into the ground safely, or a combination of the two routes.</p><p>Kevin Patrick, a lawyer specializing in water issues, finds it &quot;highly doubtful&quot; that stormwater could be controlled in this manner, particularly in a way that is more economical than traditional stormwater solutions. But Hulterstrum says that it all depends on how you configure the outlet pipes, adding that costs will vary depending on the complexity of the BaseTern.</p><p>Shambarger says Milwaukee will begin measuring the idea&#39;s value by building a pilot BaseTern, hopefully by next summer, the city&#39;s rainy season. If Milwaukee finds success in the BaseTerns, it would be a big step up in <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/business/efforts-to-brand-milwaukee-as-water-technology-hub-reach-milestone-b9990504z1-222814861.html" target="_blank">the city&#39;s initiative to become a water technology hub</a>.</p><p>The Fund for Lake Michigan paid for the feasibility study, and executive director Vicki Elkin says she&#39;d be open to considering funding the pilot program as well. She says she hopes to learn not only how well the idea works, but whether it can be replicated in other areas of the city.</p><p>&quot;What I&#39;m hearing from engineers is that it&#39;s really place-dependent,&quot; she says.</p><p>David Waggonner, a water expert in New Orleans, says the idea sounds like a &quot;worthy experiment.&quot; He adds, &quot;I hope that it&#39;s a scale that will be replicable.&quot; Hulterstrum and Shambarger say the city has been getting a lot of interest surrounding the project, especially from other cities in the Great Lakes region.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/08/12/339633247/milwaukee-finds-a-fix-for-stormwater-overflows-abandoned-basements" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/milwaukee-finds-fix-stormwater-overflows-abandoned-basements-110637 48,000 ComEd customers still without power http://www.wbez.org/news/48000-comed-customers-still-without-power-100607 <p><p>Repair crews have restored power for about 300,000 Commonwealth Edison customers, but the utility is still working to get the lights back on for about 48,000 customers in northern&nbsp;Illinois.</p><p>ComEd spokesman Tony Hernandez says most of the remaining outages should be fixed by Wednesday but a few customers will remain without service until Thursday. Hernandez says that&#39;s because repair crews are having to remove the downed trees from Sunday&#39;s storms before repairing the damaged ComEd equipment.</p><p>ComEd&#39;s repair crews are getting help from other utilities, including Ameren&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;and Ameren Missouri.</p><p>Hernandez says about 440 ComEd crews are working to restore service, with the help of about 180 crews from neighboring utilities. And he says more help will arrive Wednesday.</p></p> Tue, 03 Jul 2012 08:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/48000-comed-customers-still-without-power-100607 Big storms are big business for the weather channel http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-27/big-storms-are-big-business-weather-channel-89765 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//npr_story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/119934351_wide.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It's a little strange hearing a rundown of a television network's big and successful year that talks not only about audience growth, but also about deadly hurricanes, crippling drought, and a major heat wave. The Weather Channel isn't glad anyone is suffering, obviously, but it's been pretty good business for them. They aren't afraid to tell you how well they did during the Groundhog Day winter storm, or during the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Fifty million people watched The Weather Channel during the week of the Joplin tornado, they'll tell you.</p><p>Speaking to television critics on Wednesday, the Weather Channel personnel — executive Bob Walker, on-air meteorologists Jim Cantore and Stephanie Abrams, and hurricane expert Dr. Rick Knabb — stressed the expansion of content across platforms and the importance of what they do and everything you hear about from everybody else, but it all comes down to the fact that weather is one of those things where people don't necessarily have the option of losing interest. Walker pointed out late in the session that the channel's data indicates that 90 percent of the U.S. population checks the weather in one way or another every day. <em>Every day. </em></p><p>They walk a fine line, because they don't want to be tagged as irresponsible or exploitative. In fact, Abrams showed a little irritation talking about how she doesn't like to be lumped in with fools (my word, not hers) who, for instance, are trying to get the most dramatic shot by "standing on the seawall in Galveston when there's a storm coming ashore." (Galveston and that sea wall came up again later during a similar disclaiming of bad tactics. One sure does get the feeling that the Weather Channel people were particularly appalled by something that <em>somebody </em>at <em>some </em>network shot there.) At the same time, they know that storm coverage sucks in eyeballs in a way that maps don't; that it has universal appeal.</p><p>It's an odd business. It's a mix of the most mundane and utilitarian of content — <em>it's going to rain; bring an umbrella</em> — and the most dramatic and frightening — <em>get in the basement, WE'RE SERIOUS, YOU COULD DIE</em>. They build their reputation, in part, on their ubiquity in the in-between times. Their mobile app has been downloaded 40 million times, and that's not just so people can watch tornado coverage and snowstorm coverage. Ninety percent of the population doesn't watch disaster coverage every day; they check the <em>weather</em> every day.</p><p>Every network that comes here has an interest in giving the people what they want, and this one is no different. They openly acknowledge that earthquakes aren't really weather, and tsunamis aren't really weather, but they covered the earthquake in Haiti and prepared for possible tsunamis in Hawaii after the earthquakes in Japan simply because their customers expected them to and believed they were equipped to. They've expanded their definition of the mission to include, in effect, "weather plus other important naturally occurring events."</p><p>And — like, it seems, absolutely everybody else on cable — they've got a foot in reality shows. Just today, they announced that they'll be airing <em>Coast Guard: Alaska</em>, a show that seems to be in the great unscripted-TV tradition of Burly Men Doing Important Sweaty Work.</p><p>Of course, like everyone, they've got things they really <em>don't</em> want to be part of, and one of those is a discussion of whether humans contribute to climate change, which they were asked about in the first three questions of the day. Yes, the entire panel agreed, the climate is changing. But as to whether any of that has anything to do with human beings, they take no position. There are lots of factors, they say. We're still learning.</p><p>Earthquakes? Yes. Tsunamis? They're on it. Hot-button political issues like a yes or no on whether humans are contributing to climate change? No, thanks. And don't ask them about whether we're heading for another Ice Age, either — somebody tried it, and it led to the explanation of something sort of interesting: that is a question for climatologists (who study climate over the very, very long haul), not meteorologists (who study the climate over the next 90 days or so).</p><p>You learn something new every day. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1311868118?&gn=Big+Storms+Are+Big+Business+For+The+Weather+Channel&ev=event2&ch=93568166&h1=TCA+2011,Television,Monkey+See,Environment,Arts+%26+Life&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=138760146&c7=1138&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1138&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110727&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=138703588,126677694,93568166&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 12:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-27/big-storms-are-big-business-weather-channel-89765 North suburbs call ComEd to account for power outages http://www.wbez.org/story/north-suburbs-call-comed-account-power-outages-89232 <p><p>Officials in Chicago’s northern suburbs are calling power provider ComEd to account for frequent and long-lasting blackouts. A storm last Monday left many customers without electricity, some for the entire week.</p><div><div>In Evanston, strong winds toppled dozens of trees, taking down lines to more than 12,000 thousand customers. But Evanston Alderman Jane Grover says that during other outages this summer, electricity was unavailable even when the lines remained up.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>“Evanston is still very much concerned about the ComEd infrastructure issues,” said Grover, ”as well as their response time for restoration of power, and their ability to pump information out into the community about preparing for a longer outage.”</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Grover and her fellow aldermen will grill ComEd representatives at a city council meeting Monday night. The power company faced Park Ridge officials and residents at a meeting last Thursday. Highland Park has invited the company to answer questions at its July 25 council meeting.</div></div></p> Mon, 18 Jul 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/north-suburbs-call-comed-account-power-outages-89232 Northern suburbs still without power from Monday's storm http://www.wbez.org/story/northern-suburbs-still-without-power-mondays-storm-89140 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-13/storms tree on car - AP PhotoNam Y Huh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>ComEd crews continue to restore power to thousands of people around Chicago. About 105,000 people, most in the northern suburbs, still can't turn on the lights after Monday's storm rolled through the area.</p><p>Arlana Johnson, a ComEd spokeswoman, said she knows of one instance in which six poles had to be replaced in one area.</p><p>"So there was significant work that had to go into getting poles installed and reset and wires strung," she said. "It was a job that took several hours and only 25 customers were restored as a result of that effort."</p><p>Johnson said 800 crews are expected to be working throughout Thursday. She expected 90 percent of ComEd customers will have their power back by midnight tonight. Some still won't have power until Saturday. More than 800,000 people lost power from Monday's storm.</p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 12:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/northern-suburbs-still-without-power-mondays-storm-89140 Summer weather gets hot and wild http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-12/summer-weather-gets-hot-and-wild-89012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-12/5711342865_23d30e65ca_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Recent weather has many Chicagoans asking: "What is up with the weather?" Last winter served the city one of the worst snow storms on record. And though summer is mere weeks old Chicago's already experienced heat advisories, golf-ball-sized hail and Monday’s tornado-like winds. This week's storm came and went quickly but hundreds of thousands around the area are still without power.</p><p>To talk about what else to expect from summer weather <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-air/about-us/Ginger_Zee.html" target="_blank">Ginger Zee</a>, meteorologist at NBC Channel 5 and storm chaser, joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-12/summer-weather-gets-hot-and-wild-89012 Hundreds of thousands still without power after Monday's storm http://www.wbez.org/story/hundreds-thousands-still-without-power-after-mondays-storm-89007 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-12/AP110711110731.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About 330,000 Commonwealth Edison customers are still without power Tuesday afternoon, after the most damaging storm system in more than a decade roared through northern Illinois Monday, leaving downed trees and debris in its wake.</p><p>The storm early yesterday downed trees, ripped off roofs and left at least 868,000 utility customers without power. ComEd officials said that was the most outages in at least a decade.</p><p>"The storm system that came through the area yesterday was massive and it brought with it high winds, heavy rain," said Tony Hernandez, a ComEd spokesman. "Most damaging to the ComEd system was intense lightning which caused extensive tree damage which brought down a lot of our power lines."</p><p>He also said that ComEd is hiring private contractors and workers from other states to help clean up.</p><p>ComEd reports it will have up to 900 crews working Tuesday to assess damage and restore customers as quickly as possible.</p><p>Several people were injured during the storm, including seven workers struck by a collapsing tent and a woman shocked by a high-voltage charge that came through her landline telephone.</p><p>In rural areas, winds measured at 60 mph to 75 mph flattened cornfields and at least one barn. High winds forced the delay and cancellations of hundreds of flights at Chicago's Midway and O'Hare airports.</p><p>The combination of power outages and high temperatures has city of Chicago officials working to prevent heat-related illnesses for people without air conditioning. Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says the city has received calls about outages from about a dozen buildings housing seniors, who are most at-risk during hot spells.</p><p>"In the upper floors of these buildings, it's not unusual, if you have 90 degrees of outside temperature, for the inside temperature in some of these buildings to rise well over 100 degrees," Langford said, adding that some buildings could be evacuated if the power remains out for too long and temperatures begin to climb.</p><p>The Chicago region will most likely be spared from another round of heavy storms, according to National Weather Service forecasts. Highs in the mid-80s are expected Tuesday.</p><p>The city of Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services is asking people to check on seniors, and to call 311 if they have a neighbor who needs help.</p><p>Natasha Payton and her 93-year-old grandfather appreciated the cooling center in East Garfield Park.</p><p>“We used to have the air conditioner running,” Payton said Monday afternoon. “But nothing is on because the power [has been] out since 8:30 this morning. It’s stifling hot in the house.”</p><p>A department spokeswoman said use of the cooling centers could be heavier Tuesday if ComEd has not restored electricity to most of the Chicago homes without it.</p></p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 12:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/hundreds-thousands-still-without-power-after-mondays-storm-89007 Meteorologists blame thunderstorms for Friday's cooler weather http://www.wbez.org/story/meteorologists-blame-thunderstorms-fridays-cooler-weather-88649 <p><p>It looks like Chicago residents won't be experiencing the scorching heat meteorologists were predicting all week.<br> <br> Richard Castro, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, blames thunderstorms for the cooler temperatures.</p><p>"That's one of those things -- it looks like the entire week we're in line for a spike of extremely hot temperatures today along with humidity, and then thunderstorms -- the fact they've persisted so long really threw a wrench into the idea of how hot it would be," he said.</p><p>Chicago may see wind gusts of up to 30 mph on Friday. Castro said things should gradually warm up, but the National Weather Service has canceled a heat advisory.<br> <br> The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures in the lower 90s for Saturday, and there might be some storms. As for the rest of the holiday weekend, temperatures are estimated to hit between the upper 70s and lower 80s.</p><p>When asked if this meant residents can't always count on their weathermen, Castro laughed.</p><p>"We work as hard as we can to stay up with things but sometimes, as advanced as our technology is, things still surprise us," he said.</p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 20:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/meteorologists-blame-thunderstorms-fridays-cooler-weather-88649 Thunderstorms leave thousands of Chicago area residents without power http://www.wbez.org/story/thunderstorms-leave-thousands-chicago-area-residents-without-power-88618 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-01/5889833946_31fb5ace95.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The strong storms that pummeled northern Illinois knocked out power to 100,000 ComEd customers.</p><p>ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson says about 28,000 customers were still in the dark Friday morning. Johnson says the bulk of those are in Chicago's northern suburbs, where strong winds downed tree limbs and power lines.</p><p>About 370 ComEd repair crews were out Friday, working to repair the damage.</p><p>The storm pelted parts of northern Illinois, including Chicago skyscrapers, with golf ball-sized hail. And a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago says a gauge on the beach at Waukegan Harbor registered a hurricane-strength wind gust of 94 mph. Waukegan is about 40 miles north of Chicago.</p><p>In nearby Kenosha, WI, winds between 70 and 80 mph were reported in the area, knocking out power to more than 22,000 homes. Two people sustained minor injuries when they touched downed electrical wires, and one woman was struck by debris from a shed.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/thunderstorms-leave-thousands-chicago-area-residents-without-power-88618 Weather historian assesses Chicago's latest blizzard http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/weather-historian-assesses-chicagos-latest-blizzard <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//weather extreme.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, Snow-torious BIG! Call it what you will &ndash; the past couple of days in Chicago have been extreme. And after great snow comes the big chill. <a href="http://www.wunderground.com/blog/weatherhistorian/comment.html?entrynum=2" target="_blank">Christopher C. Burt</a> has chronicled events like this in his book <a href="http://www.extremeweatherguide.com/" target="_blank"><em>Extreme Weather: A Guide and Record Book</em></a>. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> wanted his take on the 2011 blizzard so we tracked him down in the far more temperate state of California.</p><p><em>Music Button: Audion, &quot;Taut&quot;, from the CD Suckfish, (Spectral Sound)</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Feb 2011 12:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/weather-historian-assesses-chicagos-latest-blizzard