Chicago Weather: Homes, streets flooded in south suburbs, evacuations ordered in Marseilles

ByABC7 Eyewitness News Team Coverage WLS logo
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Homes, streets flooded in south suburbs, evacuations ordered in Marseilles
After heavy rains Tuesday, many parts of the Chicago area, especially the south suburbs, are dealing with flooded streets and homes.

FORD HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- After heavy rains Tuesday, many parts of the Chicago area, especially the south suburbs, are dealing with flooded streets and homes.

Parts of Chicago received between two to three inches of rain by Wednesday morning, with no more rain expected Wednesday.


In Marseilles in LaSalle County, officials have issued an evacuation order due to the rising Illinois River. The mandatory order is for residents south of the I&M Canal and east of Main Street, including Mill Street. Residents must be out by 2 p.m. and there is no re-entry. Displaced people may go to the Lions Club at 511 Commercial Street or the American Legion at 571 Rutland Street, police said.

About 80 percent of those affected by the mandatory evacuation are complying with the order. They marked their evacuation with pink ribbons tied on front porches and doorways.

Marseilles residents preparing to evacuate because of the rising Illinois River Wednesday morning.

Residents were told to be gone by 2 p.m., and after that time no one was allowed back in until police gave the all-clear.

"I've been checking the water levels every half hour," said Terry Blue, resident. "I'm a nervous wreck."

Both the local Lions Club and the American Legion are doubling as shelters, although the police chief said almost everyone is going to stay with family.

People loaded up their cars and trucks with whatever they could: clothing, toiletries, pets and appliances big and small.

"This is stuff I wouldn't be able to replace for a while," said Don Moore, resident.

Many of them went through the same thing in 2013 when the Illinois River reached a height of nearly 25 feet.

"We built everything back up and I just don't want to lose it again," Blue said.

This time the river is expected to crest close to 24 feet around midnight. Residents may be able to return to their homes as soon as Thursday morning.

"We want people to heed the warning, we understand they're watching and waiting. Nobody wants to move all their belongings out to their home. We don't want that either. But we don't want anybody to get hurt either," said Marsailles Police Chief Jim Hovious.

"I just pray for everyone to get through this and pray there's no fatalities or injuries or anything," said resident Lesa Ross.

The flooding also led to schools in Marseilles and Ottawa to close.

After heavy rains Tuesday, floodwaters sourrounded homes and covered streets in New Lenox Wednesday.


In Dolton, crews rescued a woman from a vehicle stranded in high water. She was on top of a car and then jumped into the arms of firefighter Ian Cosgrove who then carried her to dry land.

"The water was just about waist deep when we got out there. And with it being kind of chilly out and kind of cold, I just tried to keep her as dry as possible. That way she wouldn't get cold," Cosgrove said.

The rain and melting snow pushed Little Calumet River waters into the neighborhood, surrounding the woman and forcing her onto the roof of her car.

"Just staying calm and rescuing the person without getting all flustered. When you get flustered, you can make mistakes," said Cosgrove.

The rising river waters lapped up Kim Grice's backyard and more.

"It was through the kitchen, in the skin and on my floor. And then into my dining room a little bit," she said.

Sludge and black water forced Grice to take the day off work. She was able to get most of the mess cleaned up by night.


In New Lenox at intersection of Elm Street and Cooper Road, there was no telling where the road was and there the creek ended.

"We opened the black door to our garage and the water has come up to the second step so we can't even go into the garage," said Courtney Stoffey.

Stoffey said because of the flooding she can't leave her house.

"It's just been nuts. We've luckily had food and water and stuff in the house, but it's only 24 hours," she said.

A couple blocks away, Bertha Contreras said the water rose just feet away from her front door.

"It scares me because I have a little one, he's 3 years old, and you never know, he could open the door and come outside," she said.

Neighbors say the water levels rose here in a matter of hours. Now it's just a waiting game to see if and when they will go back down.

"It's never been this bad before. It's happened a couple times but this is the worst by far," Stoffey said.

Casimir Bailey bought his home in September. Now it's a mess.

"Everything is floating. So everything is at about windowsill level, floating in the water. And it's about, maybe, an inch under our doorknobs," Bailey said.

A driver drove into high standing water on 170th Street near Volbrecht Road in South Holland and became stuck, forcing a rescue crew to go out and pull him out of the car.

In Palos Heights, 135th Street is closed between Harlem and Ridgeland Avenues. For more on the latest traffic conditions, visit the ABC7 Chicago Traffic Map.


Serios flooding has damaged homes in south suburban Ford Heights.

In Ford Heights, many homes in the Golden Meadows subdivision are underwater. Jakytta Freeman said her three kids lost their beds.

"You gotta just tell them like we go through disasters, we go through life and this is one of them. This is not the first time it's happened, but this is the worst that it happened," Freeman said.

Deer Creek is overflowing after it took on heavy rain Tuesday. Overnight flood waters receded a little and now residents who were trapped are trying to get out.

"I had to put bags on my legs, and like put on a whole jumpsuit and walk through the water," said Jameisha Watson.

This isn't the first time Ford Heights has had to seal with flooding, and some suspect a neighboring community may have opened its flood gates. Thomas McGregor just wants the village to resolve it.

"Just do something. There's a lot of people that grew up out here. There's a lot of older people that's still out here and they can't go nowhere because of this situation," McGregor said.

Ford Heights Mayor Annie Coulter said she is trying to get answers and in the meantime she's urging residents to ask for help.

"Be patient and help us out our form of government. I don't know if we're gonna be declared a disaster area, so I'm waiting on word from the governor's office," said Mayor Coulter.

She said the Red Cross is on standby for anyone that needs help.


Northwest Indiana is contending with rising floodwaters after Tuesday's rain.

Residents in Northwest Indiana also struggled with rising rivers, which flooded streets and front yards.

Anyone in Lake County, Ind., that need assistance can click here for more information on who to contact and how.

Indiana University Northwest said its campus in Gary is closed effective immediately and all evening classes are canceled due to drainage issues caused by the heavy rain.