DuPage County flood control efforts continue
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Flood-weary DuPage County residents are expected to get some much-needed time to clean up now that the county rivers and streams are receding.
Anthony Charlton, DuPage's director of stormwater management, said the county's larger flood control facilities — Fawell Dam near Naperville, Spring Creek Reservoir near Bloomingdale, Elmhurst Quarry and the Wood Dale-Itasca Reservoir — will remain in operation through at least Saturday.
Coupled with a weather forecast that doesn't anticipate much rainfall until Tuesday, Charlton said DuPage should get "two or three days of good drainage" before the next round of storms.
"Right now, they're not projecting anything near the size of what we got over the last 48 hours," Charlton said Friday. "We still have some storage left in a couple of the facilities. Hopefully, we'll be ready to combat anything that comes our way next week."
That's positive news for the various communities that were hardest hit by flooding, including Lisle, Lombard, Aurora and Addison.
In Lisle, officials said Short Street could open as early as Saturday, even though Burlington Avenue at the river could remain underwater for the near future.
"The good news is, things are getting better," Mayor Joe Broda said. "The water is going down and, in the last eight hours, it has dropped substantially."
Floodwaters on Maple Avenue have receded, Broda said, but that road won't reopen until the highway department has had time to inspect it for damage.
"It's been underwater for a day, and we're worried about the structural status," he said.
About 100 homes remained flooded or surrounded by water, while three nursing homes and the Four Lakes area were still under evacuation orders.
Broda said police and city staff were assisting victims, but much of the cleanup and inspection work can't take place until the water fully recedes.
"We're doing everything we possibly can," he said. "To some, that's probably not enough but there's only so much we can do under certain circumstances."
Broda praised residents for volunteering to help their neighbors, adding that a village trustee and his wife were pitching in by manning phones at the police station.
"Have you ever been to a telethon where every phone is ringing? That's what it's like," he said.
Broda met or spoke with several legislators Friday about the flood damage and recovery. He said a large part of the effort will be making sure flood-ravaged areas are safe.
"The real work will start for police and inspectors when the water goes down," he said. "People think when the water's down, everything goes back to normal. But it does not."
DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin announced the county will work with municipalities, townships and the state to assess damage and gather data that will be used to request a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
"The declaration could lead to federal assistance to help defray uninsured costs incurred as a result of the recent flooding," Cronin said in a statement.
County officals are encouraging residents to document any damage or loss to structures or possessions. Residents should take pictures of damage, keep receipts and invoices for repairs and contact their insurance agents to start the claim process.
In Lombard, park district officials and homeowners began cleaning up as floodwaters lingered in a few low-lying areas near ponds. The village made garbage bins available at several locations across town as residents began removing items from flood-soaked living spaces.
Lilacia Park's center courtyard flooded just weeks before the annual Lilac Time festivities are set to begin May 4, but park district staff members were able to pump out most of the water by Friday morning. Western Acres Golf Course remained under 4 feet of water and may not reopen until the middle of next week.
As Aurorans started cleaning up from the flood, the roof of a former train depot on Broadway Avenue collapsed about 9 p.m. Thursday. Crews were installing fencing around the building Friday as building inspectors determined parts of it appeared unstable.
The roof collapse caused a closure Friday morning of southbound Broadway between Benton Street and North Avenue, which added to flood-related closures that continued on streets including stretches of Farnsworth, Orchard and Eola roads as well as 75th Street.
Addison Mayor Larry Hartwig said flooding on Villa and LaLonde avenues could have been worse if not for sandbagging efforts by residents, village employee assistance and improved infrastructure. He said many homes near Villa Avenue and Salt Creek were spared from floodwaters, and residents began to breathe a sigh of relief as the creek slowly receded Friday.
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