2023 Chicago Floods: West Side residents clean up after heavy rains cause flooding, closing roads

CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago is being cleaned up after heavy rains caused flooding problems on Sunday.

The ban on swimming has been lifted almost everywhere Chicago beach starting at 3pm

The ban was originally put in place because unsafe water quality from rising levels of bacteria after rains forced the city to reverse the flow of the Chicago River into Lake Michigan to prevent downtown flooding.

As of 4:00 p.m. Monday, the swimming ban will still be in effect at Foster Beach, Pelangi Beach and South Beach Beach, while the remaining swimming ban will only be at Marion Mahony Griffin Beach.

Sunday's flooding means city officials must reverse the flow of the river into Lake Michigan. The flooded Riverwalk had receded Monday, and the city is cleaning up any remaining debris and dirt.

WATCH: Mayor Brandon Johnson speaks of dangerous flooding

So much water fell Sunday that the locks on Wilmette and Navy Pier had to be opened to relieve pressure on the system, but it wasn't enough to prevent the water from flowing into at least 2,000 homes in the city, mainly on the West Side. .

“I'm angry but I don't know who is to blame, me or the city,” said Al Thompson, whose West Side home was flooded Sunday afternoon. “I don't know. I'm just so disappointed and upset. I mean I woke up yesterday and my whole basement was flooded.”

The two bedrooms where his son slept were destroyed. Her two hot water heaters and furnace were also damaged by water flooding the three sump pumps she bought after they started flooding.

Mayor Brandon Johnson and Alderwoman Emma Mitts visited part of the 37th ward, speaking with residents to see the impact firsthand.

“And we're not just showing up to say hello, we're showing us to listen and listening. And again we're displaying the full power of government today,” Johnson said. The mayor is a resident of the Austin city community.

Tim Williams said his cellar filled nearly three feet of water. He said he had never seen it rain this much.

“I still have to get someone here to clean this up. My hot water tank is off, my heater is off, freezer, fridge, everything is destroyed,” he said.

“We have a USGS gauge with eight and a half inches of rain,” says Ed Staudacher, assistant director of maintenance for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. “That's it, it's raining so hard over a short period of time that a short span of time also has a big impact because you get so much at once. There's nowhere for the rain to go.”

On Sunday night, in the 4600 block of West Roosevelt Road, cars were stranded after trying to drive through several feet of water on the road Sunday night. At one point Sunday, at least seven vehicles and their occupants were trapped in a flooded bridge near I-290 at 5th Avenue and Cicero Avenue.

Katera Fisher had to be towed after her SUV couldn't get through the rising water.

“I went and my car just started floating, and I was like, ‘Oh snap it.' So my first reaction was to try to get out of the car. I opened the door, and water started running down my legs,” Fisher said.

OEMC said from Sunday to Monday morning, they received 59 flood viaduct calls, 1,485 cellar water calls and 396 road water calls.

Sunday's total rainfall:

O'Hare: 3.35 inches

Mid 4.68 inches

Berwyn – 8.96 inches

Cicero – 8.60 inches

Garfield Garden – 8/12 inch

Lincoln Park – 7.89 inches

Evanston – 7.09 inches

McKinley Park 6.62 inches

Wheeling- 1.96 inches

Waukegan -.67 inches

Valparaiso – 0.30 inches

Aurora – 1.54 inches

The mayor's office issued a statement reminding the public to stay away from flooded roads and asking residents to pay attention to their water use.

“To help move the water to the wastewater system, please do not use extra water for showering, washing clothes or washing dishes while experiencing storm conditions. As our climate is changing and we see heavy rains in heavy periods of time, it is difficult for us to channel systems disposal to move water efficiently. Although it may cause temporary discomfort, it is better for water to stagnate in the street than in residents' basements,” the statement said, in part.

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