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updated: 4/18/2013 11:12 PM

Preckwinkle declares disaster for Cook County

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle issued a disaster proclamation for Cook County Thursday.

She cited severe weather across the county and noted the impact on homes and businesses, forced evacuations and closed roadways.

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The Des Plaines River in Cook County is currently at 9.24 feet. The major flood stage is 9 feet. According to the National Weather Service, the Des Plaines River was predicted to crest on Friday at 10.6 feet.

The rapid rise in the levels of the Des Plaines River and the continued cresting presents dangerous flooding conditions for residents and infrastructure.

"This historic level of flooding will impact many people and conditions will likely get worse before they improve in many areas," Preckwinkle said. "Dangerous conditions exist and it is important for residents to continue to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution."

The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management activated its Incident Command Center Wednesday, and it will continue operating throughout the duration of the severe weather.

Cook County has been coordinating between various partners, including public, private and nonprofit entities. In addition, the county has made resources available to assist jurisdictions who require aid, including providing emergency supplies and equipment.

The release that accompanied the proclamation advised residents to contact their local municipalities with any damage or flooding information or requests for assistance. As always, in case of a life threatening emergency dial 911. Cook County will continue coordinating with local jurisdictions and first responders on flood-related issues.

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