Some flooding, but not as bad as feared

December 28, 2008 3:45:27 PM PST
As flood waters continue to rise, there is some good news: the flooding won't be as bad as first feared. Some neighborhoods were dealing with flooding a day after heavy rain and warm temperatures melted much of the snow on the ground. However, the flooding is not as bad as earlier feared.

Much of the flooding that the area is seeing is along rivers. Widespread flooding did not materialize. Instead, parks, forest preserve areas and low-lying areas are seeing the most problems.

There is flooding is west suburban Riverside. Back in September, parts of Riverside sustained considerable damage after the Des Plaines River rose to about 9.8 feet. Saturday, neighbors thought they were in for round two, as forecasters predicted that the river would once again rise to similar levels. Fortunately, they were wrong.

Residents living along the Des Plaines River dodged a pretty big bullet. For the second time in four months record flooding was projected. But in the end, the river crested much below the original forecast.

In Riverside, where Saturday a voluntary evacuation was called for, the worst flooding was limited to parks and other public lands. Only a handful of homes near the Forest Avenue bridge are still being monitored.

"This is an area we're really concerned about. In the fall this is where most of the flooding occurred. We had about 125 residences that were affected and over 400 people. So these people are very fortunate today," said Jack Wiaduck, Riverside village president.

In next door Lyons, residents near Circle and Southview are used to regular flooding. Here the water went right up to people's homes and into some basements. Though, again, most of the damage was limited.

Candace Thomas is one of those affected.

"I think we need to start a back to nature program and tear down all these buildings, because there is no way to avoid flooding apparently. The water has to go someplace," said Thomas, Lyons flood victim.

"We have 30 residents here that we try to look out for as best we can. We've had our police and fire department out here on standby all night long," said David Visk, Lyons village president.

Other spots dealing with minor flooding as a result of Saturday's rain and warm temperatures include the city of Des Plaines, and in Chicago, the Albany Park neighborhood. Though there again, compared to last September when a big chunk of the area was underwater, flood waters from the North Branch of the Chicago River were contained to parks and a nearby cemetery.

Now the concern turns to the areas that did sustain flooding--that the water could turn to ice as the temperatures continue to drop.