Unrelenting rains from overnight and into this morning caused significant flooding across the Chicago area–and the rain’s not done yet. Chicago’s north side received over five and a half inches of rain since yesterday afternoon, a near record amount, and our area is under a Flood Watch until Friday morning.
The 49th Ward, like most areas in the City, experienced flooded streets and viaducts. The City twelve years ago installed rainblockers on most sewers that slow the flow of water into the sewer system in an effort to keep basements dry. Water on the street is far preferable than water in the basement. Assuming the sewers are open and unclogged, the standing water slowly drains into the sewers over the course of several hours.
If water is still standing twelve hours after the last rainfall, check to see if the drain is clear of leaves and debris. If you see leaves and debris covering the drain, help keep your neighborhood clean by using a rake or shovel to clear the debris from the drain. (This is also a great activity for the 49th Ward Spring Clean-Up this Saturday!)
The 49th Ward street sweeper spent several hours today sweeping debris from sewers in areas of standing water, but it simply can’t visit every storm drain in the ward. Your help in keeping the drains clear is very much appreciated.
If the top of the drain is clear and the water is still standing, this is an indication of a clogged sewer. Please report the location of the sewer to my office by replying to this email or calling 773-338-5796. Make sure you provide the street address closest to the sewer.
The rainblockers are not fool proof, especially during extreme torrential downpours, and a number of 49th Ward households experienced flooded basements. If your basement flooded, please report this to my office by replying to this email or calling 773-338-5796. Please provide your address and indicate whether the water in your basement was clear rainwater or sewage. This will enable us to track any recurring problems and identify possible clogged or collapsed sewers.
Here are some other precautions you should follow:
- Do not enter a flooded basement where electricity could be present;
- Do not walk through moving water; it only takes six inches of moving water to knock a person down;
- Never drive through a flooded area; if your car stalls in floodwater, exit the car immediately and seek an alternate route on foot;
- Once it is safe to enter an interior area damaged by floodwater, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, boots and pants, when cleaning. Use bleach to clean areas and dry area thoroughly to prevent mold growth; and
- Document and photograph flood damage, and contact your insurance agent if you have flood insurance.
If there is anything else my office and I can assist you with, please let us know.