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Severe April Storms and Flooding in Chicago area

After wreaking havoc on the morning commute, closing schools and prompting scattered evacuations, the massive storm that dumped upwards of a half-foot of rain on parts of the Chicago area overnight is expected to continue throughout the day, with flooding the big concern.

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Your items may not be safe in a safe deposit box.

In the wake of the recent floods, Chase Bank is in Northfield is calling in customers to assess the condition of their belongings.

One customer told the Tribune old family photos and his mother’s pearls were waterlogged.

Chase said it is not liable for the items, but it will consider covering some costs.

People can also submit claims to their homeowner’s insurance.

Experts are reminding customers to store items in plastic containers, or sealed bags; and to keep separate copies of important documents.

Doug Whiteman, Insurance Analyst from

Flood cleanup continues across the city and suburbs.

WGN’s SkyCam9 was over Golf and River Road earlier Thursday where cars were completely submerged under water.

The Des Plaines River in Des Plaines, Ill. has dropped to about 7 feet of water. But that’s still 2 feet over flood stage.

And the Illinois River at Lasalle is nearly 10-feet over flood stage.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army continue to offer their services to flood victims.

This may come as no surprise to you, but April 2013 is officially the wettest April on record in Chicagoland. rainweather

As of midday Wednesday, 8.58 inches of rain had fallen this month, beating the previous record of 8.33 inches back in April of 1947.

But there’s hope.

Temperatures are expected to rise into the mid 60′s, maybe even 70′s by this weekend.

Flooded rivers in the Chicago area continue to slowly recede.

The Des Plaines River in Des Plaines has dropped to seven and a half feet early Thursday morning. That’s still two and a half feet over flood stage.  flooding pic

The Fox River in Algonquin is remains about three feet above flood stage and the Illinois River at LaSalle is ten feet over flood stage.

Flood debris and ruined belongings have piled up along the streets of Southwest suburban Forest View, where most homes were heavily damaged by high flood waters.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army continue to offer help residents throughout Illinois.

Clean-up is under way in suburban Forest View today. The small community of about 700 is dealing with tons of trash and debris following last week’s massive flooding.

People have thrown out furniture, food, electronics and heirlooms, as well as drywall and insulation.

Hundreds of Forest View residents voiced their frustrations at a town meeting Tuesday night, asking why town officials had not alerted them to the quickly rising flood waters and why they could not get help when they called 911.  But despite the anger that was expressed, there is a lot of good will to go around today.

A contracting company is donating its time and equipment for clean-up in the suburb.  And a neighbor tells WGN that one man used his own money to bring a $400 pump to go around the community, pumping out people’s basements and not asking for a cent.

Forest View resident Sue Galanos is organizing a group of volunteers to go door-to-door to check on people to see if they need food, blankets, towels or anything else.

Unfortunately many people in the community do not have flood insurance.  They are hoping that, along with the state disaster declaration, there will also be a federal disaster declaration to help with the clean-up efforts.

Distribution of clean-up kits from the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is scheduled for Wednesday, April 24 in eight counties across the region to aid 5,000 households that have sustained damage from the recent flooding.

The kits are provided by the Red Cross at no charge and include supplies for both indoor and outdoor cleaning such as rakes, shovels, tarps, bleach, brooms, sponges, trash bags as well as personal safety items like rubber gloves. Kits are available free of charge by the Red Cross. Supplies are limited to first arrival at the distribution sites.

Distribution sites will be open Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the following 13 sites:

Cook County

  • Gompers Park, 5040 N. Pulaski, Chicago, IL 60630
  • Oak Park Police Department, 100 N. Euclid Ave., Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County

  • Lisle Police Department, Lincoln Ave./Short Rd., Lisle, IL 60532
  • Bensenville Public Works, 100 N. Church St., Bensenville, IL 60106

Grundy County

  • Morris Administration Building, 1320 Union St., Morris, IL 60450

DeKalb County

  • DeKalb Emergency Management, 1826 Barber Green Road, DeKalb, IL 60115

Lake County

  • Village of Fox Lake, 216 Washington, Fox Lake, IL 60073
  • Gurnee Fire Department, 4580 Old Grand Ave., Gurnee, IL 60031
  • Grant Township, 26535 W. Molidor, Ingleside, IL 60041

Will County

  • Joliet Fire Department, 101 E. Clinton St., Joliet, IL 60432

Kane County

  • Kane County EMA (under the radio tower), 777 E. Fabyan Parkway, Batavia, IL 60510

Kendall County

  • Kendall County Sheriff’s Office, 1102 Cornell Lane, Yorkville, IL 60560

The Home Repair Guide is also available at no charge on the Red Cross web site at:

Hundreds of resident of southwest suburban Forest View showed up for an emergency meeting at the town hall Tuesday night.

The crowd was so large, it was moved to the adjoined fire house.

They wanted to know why town officials had not alerted them to the quickly rising flood waters Thursday and why they couldn’t get help when they called 911.

The small town of about 700 residents sits along the Des Plaines River and covers about one square mile.  Residents say they’ve never had such major flooding and many of them do not have flood insurance on their homes.

Many of those homes were severely flooded, leaving residents homeless. Town President Richard Grenvich and Fire Chief John Kiser addressed concerns at Tuesday’s meeting.  They said the Forest View village hall and fire station were also flooded and had to be evacuated, leaving the town unable to handle calls from residents.

Kiser says officials decided not to sound the tornado sirens because it would give residents a mixed message and possibly sending them to seek shelter in their basements, where flood waters were rising.

He says 160 homes were evacuated and 250 people rescued during an 80-hour period beginning Thursday.

Mounds of water-logged furniture, personal belongings and flooring now line the streets in Forest View.

Residents say they are now drying out and waiting to see if they qualify for help from FEMA.

The second round of rain has few people in Des Plaines worried because so much of the real damage is already done. The locals say it just cannot get any worse.

As if Des Plaines has not suffered enough over the past six days– the rain is falling for a second time.

Instead of parked cars, you find parked canoes. Instead of slides in the backyard, it is sandbags on the driveway. Residents on these flooded streets are trudging to work by tractor, on foot, or by boat.

Des Plaines resident Kathy Rob said she “Raised her family here– she’s been through this drill more than she’d like to admit. She’s tired.”

Tuesday afternoon, the second swing of rain storms blew through an already battered area. Inside most homes– a total loss– this new system hardly phasing the people who simply crave normalcy– a dry, clean home, and their community above water–not below it.

Gary Zanto, also from Des Plaines, said “Sump pumps saving the day– or at least easing the pain for now.”

The waters of the Des Plaines River are starting to recede and Des Plaines residents are beginning the big job of cleaning up from last week’s flooding.

Last Friday, the city of Des Plaines was evacuating people because the water was so high, and the only way to get around was in a boat.  Since then, the water has gone down significantly.  The Des Plaines River currently stands just below 9 feet, down almost 2 feet from where it crested on Friday.  Flood stage is 5 feet so it still has a way to go.

Today, sump pumps are working overtime in the Big Bend neighborhood.  Five days after heavy rains sent 5 feet of water rushing into the neighborhood, the water is finally starting to recede.  Neighbors are now able to get around without using a boat.

Dieter Schwarz counts himself among the lucky ones because his home only got 4 feet of water, even though it backs up to the Des Plaines River.

Gary Zanta says after his home flooded in 2008, FEMA told him to put in drain tiles and make other repairs.  It paid off.  He only got about 3 inches of water in his basement this time.

But Zanta says FEMA did not keep up its end of the deal.  “I spent $33,000 and they only gave me $1,600,” he tells WGN.

Earlier this year, the city of Des Plaines sent letters to homeowners who have had several losses from flooding over the years to see if they would be interested in applying for a federal grant in which the government would buy their homes and level them.

Zanta said no thank you.  But Kathy Robb, who had to trudge through ankle-high water just to get to her car down the block, says a buyout is not a bad idea.

Des Plaines officials say FEMA is still looking at the housing appraisals and the application process is still moving forward.  There is no word on what this recent flooding will do for the application process.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army is handing out free clean-up kits in areas hard hit by the flooding.  Contact your local city or village hall to get more information abour where to pick up a cleaning kit.