Drenched homes, businesses and communities are in for much-needed break from wet weather Monday as the state continues cleanup efforts from the weekend’s record rainfall and officials begin to survey the damage.
Drenched homes, businesses and communities are in for much-needed break from wet weather Monday as the state continues cleanup efforts from the weekend’s record rainfall and officials begin to survey the damage. The National Weather Service is forecasting sunny skies and highs in the 60s and 70s for most of the state Monday. U.S. Sen Dick Durbin is scheduled to tour flooded areas of Chicago and suburban Des Plaines on Monday morning. Cook County Board President Todd Stroger declared a county-wide state of emergency on Sunday, and officials said they would ask Gov. Rod Blagojevich to issue a disaster declaration for both the city of Chicago and Cook County, a move that would make additional funds available to deal with flood-related costs. In a statement released Sunday, Blagojevich said he directed staff from the state’s Emergency Operations Center to monitor flooding and facilitate resource requests from officials in flooded communities. Maggie Carson, spokeswoman for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said requests for assistance were relatively few. Morgan and Cass counties sought the loan of pumps and generators, and several communities asked for sandbags and barricades to block flooded roads, she said. Peoria firefighters responded to about 70 weather-related emergencies over the weekend, ranging from electrical fires in flooded basements to car accidents, Battalion Chief Mike Morrow told the (Peoria) Star Journal. "Basements are flooding that have never flooded before," Morrow said. "And there are streets where the drainage systems stopped working and water is pouring down the streets." Storms knocked out power to tens of thousands of Ameren customers across southern Illinois, and the weather service reported 3.1 inches of rain fell in three hours Sunday morning at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia. The remnants of Hurricane Ike also brought strong winds to southern parts of the state, and the weather service received reports of wind gusts of up to 75 mph and wind damage to trees, power lines, roofs and mobile homes. Foster Township Trustee Scott Pyle told The (Alton) Telegraph that nearly all roads leading into Fosterburg in unincorporated Madison County were flooded. "We got a disaster out here," he said. A small army of volunteers in Des Plaines, just northwest of Chicago, were fighting a pitched battle Sunday against the rising Des Plaines River, said city spokesman Will Soderberg. "We’re preparing for the worst but hoping for the best," he said. In suburban Naperville, workers sandbagged some buildings downtown as the DuPage River overflowed its banks. There was also sandbagging in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, where dump trucks full of sand helped with makeshift the barriers to hold back water spilling from the North Branch of the Chicago River. Nearly 350 Albany Park homes were affected, and at least 40 residents in the North Side community were evacuated by boat, said John Brooks, the city’s fire commissioner. Jennifer Martinez, spokeswoman for the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication, said the city was urging evacuated residents not to return to their homes until they are pumped free of water. Des Plaines also evacuated several families from their homes, and a notice on the city’s Web site said "the City cannot guarantee the safety of residents should they remain in their residences." In Plano, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago, floodwaters inundated The Farnsworth House, a historic home designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Justin Lyons, with Landmarks Illinois, said the home built in 1951 on the Fox River’s floodplain took "a bad beating" Sunday. Saturday’s rainfall of 6.64 inches at O’Hare International Airport set a new record for a single calendar day. The previous record was 6.49 inches, recorded on Aug. 14, 1987. Climate records for Chicago date from 1871. AP ______ In photo: Department of Streets and Sanitation and Department of Water Management workers, sand bag the home of Casey Anderson, right, in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008. The remnants of Hurricane Ike brought strong winds to southern parts of the state, and the weather service received reports of wind gusts of up to 75 mph and wind damage to trees, power lines, roofs and mobile homes. (AP Photo/Chicago Tribune,Chuck Berman)
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