Lightfoot, Pritzker issue disaster proclamations for flooding, erosion along Lake Michigan shoreline

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CHICAGO — Local and state disasters have been declared for areas of Chicago's lakefront after last month's storms and flooding.

The lakefront damage is so bad, the stretch of Rogers and Howard beaches is fenced off and closed due to high water and erosion.

Wind gusts over 50 miles per hour, torrents of rain and waves of up to 23-feet ravaged much of the Lake Michigan shoreline a few weeks ago. Some stretches of the lakefront trail became piles of concrete rubble.

The city has been actively spot treating with concrete barriers and sandbags to prevent further erosion and flooding on Sheridan Road, Lakeshore and South Shore Drives.

But Mayor Lori Lightfoot believes the challenge cannot be solved by the city alone. Her local disaster declaration was followed by a state proclamation for Cook and Lake counties by Gov. JB Pritzker.

The moves will bring emergency funding to respond to the damage and allow for affected communities to apply for federal funding.

The mayor was be joined by Sen. Dick Durbin and  Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton Friday afternoon to talk more about the declarations and emergency response.

"If you don't believe in climate change, Lake Michigan has a message for you: Wake up. Looks what's happening here," Durbin said.

Officials said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects Lake Michigan water levels to remain high over the next several months, and future storms could further affect shoreline erosion.

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