Weekend storms leave suburbs struggling to clean up

July 24, 2011 8:21:00 PM PDT
More rain created new flooding problems in the south and west suburbs, while people in the northern suburbs spent the day cleaning out basements flooded from Saturday's storms.

In far west suburban Aurora, flood control efforts continued as Sunday morning storms further waterlogged an already submerged baseball field and downed neighborhood power lines.

While the quick-moving system of heavy rain and lightening forced the cancellation of a 5K run in suburban Tinley Park, residents in nearby Matteson weren't spared either.

"We're still grateful that we haven't had any lightning strikes or anything like that, but yeah, it's been unusual," said Matteson resident Vanessa Smith.

In Des Plaines, the mayor has declared a local state of emergency even though the Des Plaines River has already crested there. The city has free sand and sandbags available to its residents at three locations: Big Ben Drive and Hawthorne Lane; Christ Church at Cora Street and Henry Avenue; and River Road and Howard Avenue.

Earlier in the town of Riverside, many anxiously watched the rising Des Plaines River, which is expected to crest there later Sunday at 9 feet. So far, there are no reports of any homes taking on water. Meanwhile, others have not been so lucky.

In northwest suburban Wheeling, residents haul load after load of what is now waterlogged garbage to the curb. The water in Don Silvers' basement was up to the ceiling. He says it happens every couple of years.

"I'm tired of it," Silvers said. "You just got to put it back together the best you can."

Across the street they're still pumping water out of the basement, and the flooding extends throughout the area. In Mount Prospect, Rich Karbowiak's home had 10 feet of water.

"It's indescribable -- furniture, comfort custom-built pool tables, furnances, washer-dryers, entertainment systems, TVs, master bedroom sets -- both of the basements were fully furnished," Karbowiak said.

His neighbor Fran Zalewski blames the Village of Mount Prospect and the Environmental Protection Agency for not opening the storm locks before it was too late.

"We have a generator, we have three sump pumps. We're able to get rid of all water around our drain tile, but we can't get rid of it if they don't get rid of the street water," said Mount Prospect Fran Zalewski.

Neither the Village of Mount Prospect nor the EPA could be reached for comment about the situation that residents there in Mount Prospect were talking about.

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