We deal with all kinds of flooding in Chicago. Most of it comes our way with stormy springtime weather, and summer usually ends with heavy downpours too. Our city’s drainage system works hard keeping up with more than 30 inches of rain every year.
What happens when that same infrastructure breaks down because of burst mains or frozen pipes?
Streets flood, cars are partially submerged, and basements fill with water. That’s what residents in Sauganash had to deal with just this last January 26. Folks are recovering, but complete water damage cleanup in Sauganash will take time.
From Broken Mains to Severe Weather
Home and business owners in Sauganash didn’t have much warning unless they were awake at 3 A.M. That’s when the Department of Water Management believes it all started. The line break occurred along a 36-inch feeder main that normally operates under high pressure.
Whether it’s an engineering problem or drainage pipes overloaded with heavy rain, North Shore residents from Park Ridge to Skokie are vulnerable to this kind of flooding. Their neighbors in Northbrook and Evanston live within a few miles of Chicago’s flood zones.
Just last July, we were hit with storms that left folks stranded on top of their cars along major roadways. More than 60,000 people across the area lost electricity. Localized flooding impacts everyone in the city and suburbs, and it often occurs with very little warning.
7 Takeaways from Our Chicago Floods
While Sauganash was the first scene of major flooding in Chicago this year, it won’t be the last of our neighborhoods affected by the city’s aging water system or torrential storms. What kind of lessons can we learn from the first Chicago flood of 2017 and the severe weather that hit us last year?
1. It Can Be Deadly and Expensive
The number of U.S. deaths caused by floods have doubled in the past 10 years. While you might think of these disasters occurring along our coastlines, Illinois is one of five states recording the highest number of flood-related fatalities every year. The national bill for this type of destruction tops $8 billion annually.
2. Floods Shut Down Gas and Electricity
Rapidly rising water from flooding in Chicago poses a threat to your personal safety by shutting down gas and electricity lines across the city. During the Sauganash flood, emergency crews were busy securing and shutting down power mains. In addition to the dangers of ruptured gas lines, basements flooded because sump pumps didn’t have electricity.
3. Sewers Back Up With Black Water
Raw sewage is a serious biohazard under any circumstances. Extensive flooding can back up sewer pipes and push contamination into your home through bathroom drains and toilets. This kind of mess requires attention from professional cleanup crews certified in dealing with hazardous black water situations. Don’t ever try cleaning up raw sewage flooding by yourself.
4. You Have to Stay Tuned In
As forecasts track storms coming our way, conditions can change from rainy to dangerous in less than an hour. Don’t take any Chicago weather event lightly. Stay tuned in to forecasts so that you can stay prepared for emergencies. Local news organizations help by updating reports through their social media channels.
5. Flood-Proof the House
Minimize water damage by making your home safer with smart flood-proofing strategies. Check the property twice a year, and double down on flood prevention tactics when forecasts call for stormy weather. You can’t stop torrential rains, but you can make sure the sump pump is in good condition and backed up in case you lose electricity.
6. Know Who to Call
The aftermath of flooding in your home can leave you wondering what to do next. It’s an overwhelming experience, but you don’t have to face it alone. Contact a professional flood damage restoration company before this kind of disaster strikes. They provide 24/7 emergency cleanup services, so keep their number handy.
7. Understand Your Insurance Policy
Don’t assume your homeowners insurance covers all types of flooding and water damage. Most policies exclude storm flooding, but your agent is your best resource for details. He can put you in touch with national flood insurance programs and help you finalize a plan that protects your home and belongings. You want to understand your coverage and liability before the worst happens.
We’re Always Here to Help
Every time you deal with a disaster, you learn how to better handle the next one. It makes flood damage cleanup and recovery a little easier when you know you’re not alone. If you have any recent flood experiences, our Comments Section is always open to your input.
You can count on us for expert water damage services covering everything from storm flooding to plumbing failures. When you need help from one of the best flood cleanup companies in Chicago and the suburbs, call us first. Our teams here at ServiceMaster Restoration are ready to answer your call 24/7.