Some Des Plaines residents forced to evacuate as floodwaters rise
Some Des Plaines residents near the Des Plaines River were forced to evacuate their homes Friday as floodwaters continued to rise, though officials say the flood of 2017 isn't as bad as previous floods that hit the city.
The National Weather Service Friday morning downgraded its flooding forecast after previously predicting the river could crest at record levels this weekend. Still, Friday the river was at a major flooding level of 19.9 feet, about a foot under the record.
It's expected to remain at that height through the weekend as water from Lake County -- which was hit with the brunt of the rain during storms this week -- continues flowing downstream.
On Big Bend Drive, often the first area in Des Plaines to flood, Glenview resident Dany Yonan Friday morning was helping his father evacuate. He feared the flooding would cause health problems such as mold.
"It's unlivable conditions for at least a month -- the water, the seepage, the health conditions," Yonan said.
A large tree had fallen across Big Bend Drive as the floodwaters saturated the ground around its roots. City public works employees used chain saws to remove the trunk from the roadway while standing in water about a foot deep on the road.
Nearby, floodwaters were gushing through yards and across the streets. One resident had prepared by placing a canoe and paddles by his front door.
Yonan and his father, George Babico, had a sense of helplessness as they took essential belongings from the home.
"What are you going to do?" Yonan said, shrugging as he waded toward his car.
About a mile away, officials at Brookdale Senior Living, which overlooks the river at 800 S. River Road, were making preparations for a possible evacuation, before deciding about 1 p.m. to call it off. The building faced electrical challenges, but those problems were resolved and residents allowed to stay.
Some relatives had already come to pick up family members, and Brookdale had been making preparations to transport other residents to nearby hotels.
At Des Plaines Fire Station 1 at 405 S. River Road, firefighters and paramedics had to exit the back of the firehouse to respond to calls because of flooding in front of the station. The situation isn't as bad as in 2013, said Fire Chief Alan Wax, when the station had to be closed because of worse flooding in the area.
"In the past we've been under water," Wax said. "Today we're high and dry."
The McDonald's restaurant across the street though was closed, its parking lot filled with water.
Road closures remained in effect across Des Plaines, and city officials said they may continue through the weekend as needed, including:
• Central Road between River and East River roads
• Joseph Schwab Road between Miner Street and Algonquin Road
• Hawthorne Lane and Big Bend Drive subdivision
• Thacker Street between River Road and Cora Street
• River Road between Rand Road and Elk Boulevard
• River Road between Algonquin Road and Miner Street
• River Road between Miner and Oakton streets
• Northbound River Road at Central Road
• Northbound Lee Street between Elk Boulevard and River Road
• Golf Road between River and East River roads
• Algonquin Road between Oakton and Lee streets
• River Drive between Stewart Street and Shagbark Lane
• Harding Avenue between Willow Avenue and Oak Street
For up-to-date road closures, the city has posted a map www.desplaines.org.