Record Rainfall Floods Somonauk Park, Nearby Streets

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Flood waters on Sioux Street rise beneath a car Sunday. (Photo: Jim Hennessy)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Record rains dumped more than seven inches of water on some areas throughout Chicago Saturday, more than has ever been recorded in one twenty-four hour period day since record-keeping began in 1871. The rains finally abated Sunday afternoon, but not before Somonauk Park turned into a lake where some began to swim and boat. The flooding was due in part to the Village of Richton Park pumping water from flooded retention ponds located west of Central Park Avenue.

Sioux Street resident Jim Hennessy was concerned about water pouring down his street, rising to the floorboard of his car parked on the street, “Richton Park is pumping water into the creek near Sioux St. That’s contributing to the excess amount of water that we’re seeing here.”

Hennessy said he walked across Central Park Avenue Sunday afternoon where he spoke with Richton Park Fire Chief Lloyd Noles Jr. He said he was told the department intended to pump for another twelve hours.

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Flood waters rise on Sioux Street Sunday. (Photo: Jim Hennessy)

Richton Park eventually shut down the pump shortly before 8:00 p.m. according to Ken Eyer, Park Forest’s Director of Public Works.

Eyer said he was concerned about the flooding in Park Forest, “It’s really storm water. It is flooding, covering manholes. We are getting some in our sanitary sewer. That is a problem.”

Eyer said residents should be careful and avoid walking in the streets while the water is high, “Manhole covers may have blown off. It’s not good for kids to be playing in the street because of that. I don’t recommend walking into something you can’t see the bottom of.”

According to Director Eyer, the added water could become a potential problem for some sewer lines, “It’s going to cause the line to back up a bit, could cause some backup into homes. I can’t say for sure how much water we’re getting from this. We want our sanitary sewer to be a tight system, but, obviously it’s old and it’s not.”

Lieutenant Paul Hodges from the Park Forest Fire Department confirmed that much of the water cascading down the “S” streets was coming from Richton Park, “They have two retention ponds off Richton Square Road.”

Jim Hennessy said the water began to recede on Sioux Street soon after Richton Park shut off the pumps.

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Waters rise beneath Thorn Creek Bridge Sunday. (Photo: Mel Muchnik)

Further south in Park Forest, Thorn Creek  threatened to strike Park Forest’s only residential bridge, "It’s wild here. Water rushing down Thorn Creek now touching bottom of bridge," said resident Mel Muchnik. "I trust the bridge will hold. It is the only access to our house and to the Thorn Creek area – streets of Woodland Glen, Upper Thorn Creek Drive and Braeburn."

Moving north in Park Forest, Judith McGee said she was not having any flooding issues, but was worried about losing power, "Thanks to the adept landscaping work of Gary Friedlund and his crew, I am experiencing no flooding problems this weekend.  As my property backs up to the EJ&E Railroad, I have a huge lawn with multiple easements, so the water fortunately  doesn’t come near to the house. The Westwood area experienced some transformer problems (three loud bangs) around 9 a.m. this morning but we have not yet lost utilities."

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Water cascades through the intersection of Shawnee and Shabbona yesterday, continuing to flood Somonauk Park. (Photo: ENEWSPF)

Residents back at the south end of town were not so lucky, however. Shabbona resident and Village Trustee Ken Kramer reported the power was out in his neighborhood Sunday night.

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  Teens in Lake Somonauk take a chance swimming in runoff from Park Forest streets. (Photo: ENEWSPF)