Chicago, suburbs prepare for possible flood

December 26, 2008 8:16:45 PM PST
Chicago and many of the flood prone suburbs are bracing for what could be a very wet and dangerous weekend.River Forest residents are hoping a wall of sand and concrete that has been put up won't be necessary. But after the village was bombarded with flood water this past September, officials aren't taking any chances with the Des Plaines River.

"We wanted to get a jump on it and get these things in place so we weren't initiating this in the midst of a flood," said Greg Kramer, director, River Forest Public Works.

People throughout Cook County are keeping a close eye on the river, preparing for potential record breaking flooding. Emergency officials say conditions could make for a very messy weekend.

"It's a very complex situation, because it's not only rainwater. We have snowmelt, ice on rivers, backup of drainage system," said Dan Coughlin, Cook Co. Emergency Management Agency.

The county's emergency management agency will coordinate the flood response. The forest preserve district will provide specialized vehicles including boats if necessary, and the highway department will help move sand. At this point, there's no way of knowing how much flood water to expect.

"The ground is very cold. It's not thawing as quickly as the air temperature. The result is that it will flood in different ways as the last two major flooding here," said Coughlin.

Another problem on Friday afternoon and evening was the fog. Visibility was terrible and police were asking motorists to slow down and be extra careful.

"If you see any barricades, don't try and go around them because there's a reason they're put up," said Sgt. Gregory Weiss, River Forest Police Department. If you see an officer directing traffic, adhere to what they're saying."


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