Chicago Flash Storms Can Bring a Flood of Concerns

the 3 warning signs of a pipe burst in Chicago

2-Minute Read

Written By Nasutsa Mabwa

Rain is essential for life. Yet sometimes heavy microbursts spring up or we may have several rainy days in a row. When that happens, parts of the Chicagoland area can end up flooded which keeps us at ServiceMaster busy with flood cleanup. Flooding is the number one severe weather killer nationwide, and the Midwest is no stranger to life-threatening flooding events. Because of this, basement flooding can occur and so flood damage restoration is often needed.

Flood Damage Chicago

Major flooding and record-setting rainfall most recently hit the Chicago area in May 2020. In just four days, over 7 inches of rain fell and caused major flooding on roadways. On Lower Wacker Drive, several people and trapped motorists had to be rescued by boat. The Chicago River rose so high that the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District had to reverse the flow to Lake Michigan! This caused major flood cleanup throughout the Chicagoland area that included flood damage restoration.

Basement Flooding Chicago

Extreme Midwest flooding has increased in frequency and intensity and is expected to escalate through this century. Senior Service Hydrologist W. Scott Lincoln with National Weather Service Chicago has been keeping track of this data for years:"We have definitely seen a change in the rainfall and the precipitation over the last several decades,
            " Lincoln said. "If we look back to 1950 verses today, we have about a 10% to 20 % increase in Northern Illinois. While that doesn't seem like a big deal, just a small amount can change the water balance and can change how much water ends up in our rivers. So that 10% to 20% increase has led to a 50% to a 100% increase in the average flow in rivers in Illinois."

3. Uncommon Sights

Where flooding occurs, we may see images of people wading through the water. Many times, they have no choice as they’re trying to escape to higher ground. But sometimes we see pictures or videos of kids, even adults, playing in floodwaters. To some, something is tempting about romping about in the water when it’s in places it’s usually never seen. But here are some serious reasons why you never want to walk (or play) in floodwaters:

  • Creature features – some of your playmates may include poisonous snakes, bugs, leeches, disease-carrying rodents, and decaying animal carcasses.   
  • Junk in the funk – floodwaters can carry and/or hide all sorts of debris that can harm you – broken glass, torn metal, splintered wood, etc.
  • Shock value – a live power line could give way (which is not unusual in disaster areas) and land in the water you’re standing in. No description is necessary.
  • The force is not with you – it only takes 6 inches of rapidly moving floodwaters to knock you off your feet and carry you to an uncertain fate.
  • Contamination abounds – many floods cause sewer overflows, releasing dangerous chemical waste and harmful microbes. These can make you very ill, especially if you swallow any of it or it comes in contact with your eyes, nose, or open sores.
  • They suck – when floodwaters cover storm drains or sinkholes, powerful whirlpools can form that may not be visible from above. They can pull you under and won't let you go.

ServiceMaster Chicago Word of Advce

If you must walk in flooded areas (only where the water isn’t moving – never step into rushing water unless you have a safety harness attached and you’re being helped by an emergency responder), even if it’s just basement flooding, then take all precautions. Wear protective coveralls and where your skin or clothing touches the water, wash as soon as possible. Also, make sure you keep up with all vaccinations.  

The dangers listed above can also enter your home during flooding, causing basement flooding and other serious issues. And even if the flooding comes from an inside source such as a broken pipe, some of these hazards still exist. So instead of trying to handle such a catastrophe yourself, call the flood cleanup professionals at ServiceMaster Water damage Chicago who are trained in flood damage restoration. They use powerful pumps and truck-mounted vacuum units to quickly remove hundreds or thousands of gallons of water from your Chicagoland property. During their flood cleanup process, they’ll dry, dehumidify, clean, repair and return your property to normal.

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