Heavy rains flood streets, homes in Prospect Heights

 
Updated 6/10/2018 5:19 PM
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  • Prospect Heights resident Jonathan Bordner walks Sunday through floodwaters on Hillside Avenue near Willow Road.

      Prospect Heights resident Jonathan Bordner walks Sunday through floodwaters on Hillside Avenue near Willow Road. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Ducks enjoy Hillside Avenue all to themselves after it was flooded near Willow Road in Prospect Heights on Sunday.

      Ducks enjoy Hillside Avenue all to themselves after it was flooded near Willow Road in Prospect Heights on Sunday. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Hillside Avenue was flooded near Willow Road in Prospect Heights on Sunday. Heavy thunderstorms over the weekend closed roads and poured water into basements across the city.

      Hillside Avenue was flooded near Willow Road in Prospect Heights on Sunday. Heavy thunderstorms over the weekend closed roads and poured water into basements across the city. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • The home of Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer wasn't spared from the flooding that hit the city over the weekend after heavy downpours Saturday and Sunday.

    The home of Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer wasn't spared from the flooding that hit the city over the weekend after heavy downpours Saturday and Sunday. Courtesy of Mayor Nick Helmer

  • The home of Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer wasn't spared from the flooding that hit the city over the weekend after heavy downpours Saturday and Sunday.

    The home of Prospect Heights Mayor Nick Helmer wasn't spared from the flooding that hit the city over the weekend after heavy downpours Saturday and Sunday. Courtesy of Mayor Nick Helmer

Heavy rains that passed through the suburbs over the weekend hit Prospect Heights especially hard, leaving behind flooded yards and basements, waterlocked homes and inundated streets.

In just a 2½-hour period Saturday, the city accumulated 4 inches of rainwater, officials said.

"With most areas being impervious, meaning that there are parking lots, buildings, etc., where there is no grass to help drain the rain, we had quite a few streets closed," Mayor Nick Helmer said, adding that the city deployed pumps to help reduce the flooding. "And we were pumping out virtually a small lake."

Crews were also cleaning out storm sewer covers clogged with grass and branches.

Helmer said he was out most of the day Saturday with the city's public works director, touring neighborhoods and surveying the situation. While most major roads were open, a portion of Willow Road near Hillside Drive and some smaller streets remained impassable Sunday afternoon.

Helmer and neighbors in his cul-de-sac on Kewaunee Court weren't spared. Three homes were flooded at the end of the cul-de-sac, Helmer said, and his basement and others took in water. Some residents spread sandbags near window wells to stave off further damage.

"You can't pump the water anywhere," Helmer said. "That's the problem. We have a creek behind us, and the creek is full. It's backed up all the way down to the river because the water isn't moving fast enough."

Watching from his driveway was resident Tom Sobolewski. The rains turned his yard into a swamp, and he expects once the water recedes he'll be cleaning the "junk" from the nearby lake.

He blamed the construction of Willow Road years ago.

"Someone just thought it's time to build a shortcut through the lake," he said, "Every year almost it has been flooded."

Helmer said one of the problems along Willow is that the road dips between the lake and the slough.

"We have been working with IDOT for probably four years to try to get that elevated and taken care of. We have a partial agreement in place. But nothing has been done yet," he said. "We have to come up with funds, and they will do the rest."

Near the intersection of Owen Street and Hillcrest Drive, the water encroached upon houses. The water was creeping up to the home of Greg Acierto as he and his family were getting ready to head to church Sunday morning.

"This is probably the worst it has been in our experience," said Acierto, who's been living there for four years. "I feel bad for the people down the street here on Owen. They're totally cut off."

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