Chicago area cleaning up after strong storms bring flooding, downed trees; how to help

Chicago flooding comes after heavy rain over weekend, as well

ByMark Rivera and Christian Piekos WLS logo
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Community comes together to help Chicago flash flood victims
The community is coming together to help Chicago victims whose homes flooded.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago area is cleaning up again Thursday after another round of strong storms moved through the area.

The double-whammy follows record flooding that happened along the city's Riverwalk and near west suburbs over the weekend.

It's been a week of weather whiplash, including scorching hot temperatures buttressed by severe storms and flooding.

In Avalon Park on the South Side, ruined couches, mattresses and piles of debris are growing because of the flooding. Heavy machinery could be seen helping out.

Richard Puroyear was picking up the scraps left behind from the storm.

"People will be cleaning up for a week or more because it's a mess," he said.

The holiday weekend turning nightmarish for Wendy Montoya and her three kids about a block away after their home was flooded out.

"We were grabbing whatever we can. We even had our 9-year-old son trying to help us take everything out, but it just kept getting higher and higher and higher," she said.

Avalon Park resident Toni Bailey said her community rallied around her after flooding over the weekend.

"It broke me down," she said. "Waterworks, it made me feel good. One friend drove all the way from Oak Brook. I feel blessed to know that someone would do that for me."

In Calumet Heights, the storm knocked down large tree limbs.

On Chicago's West Side, some parking lots turned into ponds, while trees came toppling down on cars and homes in West Town and even uprooted a large tree at 113th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.

Inside the decision to reverse the Chicago River as storm system threatens more flooding in area

Joan Bankers, 86, recalled the rainwater pouring through her back door. She had nowhere to go.

"I didn't know what to do then; it just kept coming and kept coming. We would sweep and mop, and it wasn't helping," she said. "This here has put a stop on me now. And when you get stopped like this here, you is stuck."

That storm also flooded streets in south suburban Dolton, brought down tree limbs in north suburban Winnetka and left a downed power line in Matteson sparking on the side of the road.

Some residents also woke up in the dark. Thursday morning, ComEd was reporting nearly 2,000 power outages across Cook County.

That's why state Rep. La Shawn Ford and grassroots organizer Jaqueline Reed said they're shining a light on the vulnerable who still need help.

"The families have no other resource but to count on communities to help them with this public health crisis," Ford said.

Reed, of Every Block A Village Church, gathered local men who need the work to help their community.

"She called me when the water was at her ankles. She called me when the water came halfway up her legs. She called me when the water got to her knees. And I didn't know what to say to her," Reed said. "These are the people we know we can trust to come into our apartments, and that's why it's so important for community-based organizations to take some leadership role."

Reed has raised about $2,000 so far to help those who need it on the West Side.

Ford said he'll be working with the mayor and governor to get more resources to help those who need it most.

For more information, or to donate, visit

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