Community demands answers in flood-weary Burbank

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Thursday, September 11, 2014
Community demands answers in flood-weary Burbank
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Southwest suburban residents demanded action so they don't have to worry about flooding every time it rains.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Southwest suburban residents demanded action so they don't have to worry about flooding every time it rains. Some homes have been flooded three times this year.

City council members were on the hot seat in Burbank Wednesday night as residents of the flood-weary community demanded for answers. It was the first city council meeting since major flooding hit parts of Burbank last month, and frustrated residents let loose.

"I'm here to say get rid of the water in the street!" said a resident at the meeting.

It was standing-room-only in the Burbank city council chambers - so full, a large crowd couldn't get in - as fellow residents vented frustrations.

"The panel that sits before us isn't fighting for us," said a resident at the meeting.

The meeting comes on the heels of last month's severe flooding, the third time it's happened in Burbank this year. It's all the result of downpours causing the Melvina Reservoir to overflow.

There have been few answers from Burbank officials, and those from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District which runs the reservoir.

"We need to restudy the reservoir," said Catherine O'Connor, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

"Same rhetoric! We're studying the problem!" said a resident.

On Wednesday morning as heavy rain fell, there was fear of it would happen again. But water levels in the reservoir stayed low. Residents were relieved, but wary of the next storm.

"I'm scared. When you live and you have the fear of flooding, and your home is going to be damaged. It gets me afraid. I get very nervous, anxious, and scared to death," said Patricia Kempczynski, Burbank resident.

The meeting ended with no votes or action taken on the issue, just a promise to continue studying the problem in the hopes of finding a solution.


Heavy rain fell across the Chicago area delaying drivers, canceling flights and causing power outages. A flash flood watch is in effect through the afternoon, but ABC7 Meteorologist Mike Caplan said the rain is mostly over.

"We missed out on any severe thunderstorms this morning. In fact, there was very little thunder and lightning at all. But the rain came down heavily, as we expected," Caplan said. "The rain is pulling out of the area. The afternoon rush hour will look nothing like the brake light-filled morning rush that we all endured."

The heavy rain led to slick streets, car crashes and spinouts across the area. Travel times reached triple digits in most inbound expressways Wednesday morning.

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High-standing water led to some delays, but for the most part drivers were able to pass- slowly. Weather led to delays and cancellations at both of Chicago's airports. Nearly 300 flights were cancelled at O'Hare and 24 at Midway throughout the day, though both airports were only reporting minor delays as of 4 p.m., officials said.

Inbound Union Pacific / North Line trains were briefly halted when a tree fell on the tracks in north suburban Kenilworth. Trains were operating with residual delays.

A toppled tree also brought down a power line in Deerfield, leading officials to cancel classes at Deerfield High School due to a power outage on Wednesday. Officials have not yet said if extracurricular activities will take place.

About 300 residents are without power in the area, ComEd said.