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Rivers drop in Chicago area

April 20, 2013 at 6:02 PM

CHICAGO, April 20 (UPI) -- River levels dropped Saturday as the Chicago area began the process of recovering from a storm that brought flooding to the region.

The U.S. Geological Survey said several rivers, including the Chicago, Des Plaines and Illinois, crested at record levels Thursday or Friday. The National Weather Service warned some Midwestern rivers were still rising.

In Des Plaines, a suburb hit hard by flooding, water reached a replica of the first McDonald's Restaurant, the Chicago Tribune reported. About 400 homes in the town were inundated when the Des Plaines River overtopped its banks, cresting at a record 10.92 feet.

"This is my first Des Plaines flood," Police Chief William Kushner told the newspaper. "Everyone was telling me the water rose faster than expected. It took us by surprise."

Des Plaines officials accused their counterparts in Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights of increasing the damage in Des Plaines by plugging a "required gap" in a levee, preventing water from draining.

The storm, which brought snow to Denver and the high plains and flooding to much of the Midwest, disrupted traffic by road, rail and air in Chicago and to and from the city. Hundreds of schools in the region were closed Friday.

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