The Heat Is Online

Aurora, Ill. flash flood -- 1996

"Rain of Biblical Proportions Pours Out of Midwest Skies," The New York TimesJuly 20, 1996. (Partial text)

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In the city of Aurora, Ill., 17 inches or rain fell in 24 hours. In Naperville, nearly 10 inches fell and 7,500 homes suffered flood damage.

"I've never seen it rain like that for so long and I'vebeen in busines here for 30 years," said Don Feldcott, owner of the Lantern restaurant and bar in Naperville. "We had six feet of water in the basement. Everything in ruined The water turned two five-foot refrigerators upside down."

Gov. Jim Edgar declared 13 counties state disaster areas and mobilized the National Guard to help in the massive cleanup. The follding closed roads, businesses and stranded tens of thousands of commuters when a train line had to be shut down.

Naperville officials put the damage initially at $30 million and counting.