Sick And Tired: The Devastation Of Area Storms
Part one of a three part series discussing the devastation of flooding to area residents.
Thanks to Mother Nature, the lovely city of Des Plaines was hit by a huge rain storm late Friday evening. In the past month, Des Plaines has been hit by three really bad storms, all leaving tons of damage in its wake, literally.
Earlier: My Summer Has Finally Begun
I don’t ever remember there not being a water problem in our basement. There is something wrong with the sewer system in our street where it is not uncommon for there to be 1 to 2 feet of water in our street. My mom said she checked the location of the house when she bought it twelve years ago to make sure it was not in a flood plain. The previous owners assured her that they never got water so she thought it would be perfect for her and her 3 small children. Ummm….not so much.
Friday night’s storm brought the water within 2 feet of our front window. We have tile in our basement and it is kept clear in all the places we usually get water to prevent anything from getting ruined; we learned our lesson from the many times our old pictures and treasured items got wet and ruined. We don’t always lose electricity when there is a rainstorm, but this time we did, which meant our sump pump didn’t work and it flooded worse than usual. And the usual window wells got filled up and seepage made its regular appearance. Whatever.
Both my brother and sister have their rooms in the basement and this past rainstorm left some serious damage. Our entire basement was flooded with three inches of water, making it into my sister’s room, which was built raised an inch in the hopes of preventing seepage from entering. That strategy always worked until this past Friday when our electricity went out (for the third time in six weeks) in the night. We were all sleeping. Our neighbor texted my mom at 5 a.m. to tell us the street was flooded and water was about a foot from our front door. With complete dread, my mom went downstairs to see that the entire basement was filled with water. Our stuff was floating everywhere. She woke up my sister, who looked like she was on was on a raft on a lake, surrounded by water. My mom told her that she needed to pick up anything that was on the floor, which included her laptop, portfolio of three years of darkroom–developed pictures and all the stuff in her two closets. My mom then came into my room and woke me up, sounding upset as she said that I needed to help my sister lay out her photos and try to dry all of her things.
I jumped out of bed and immediately went to help my sister. In my house, getting woken up early in the morning or late at night to clean up rain water is insanely routine. We have to get out the wet vac and begin to clean up as much water as we can. We spend hours cleaning up messes from the water. If it’s a school night, we have to get up early to clean It up. But this time, there was nothing we could do because we didn’t have electricity to run the sump pump. We had to run an extension cord from our neighbor’s house (who, thankfully, has a generator) to get the sump going. My mom focused on cleaning up as much as she could downstairs and my sister and I worked to save her things.
Her laptop was in the case, wet, and it was dried off as best as possible, but we didn’t know whether or not it worked since you are not supposed to turn on an electronic if it is wet. The wet clothes weren’t an issue, but we were worried about the three years’ worth of pictures my sister had taken in her photo class. My sister and I spent an hour laying out all of the pictures. The cardboard mats were drenched. We filled up two garbage bags of them. We couldn’t towel-dry the pictures because it ruins them, so we had to just lay them out across the entire first floor of our house to dry.
We went outside to take pictures of our flooded street to document the absurdity of the sixth street flood in the past 10 years. The water had made it over most of the way up our lawn, but thankfully not to the front stoop. Our street was flooded with water that was knee-deep in most places, and thigh-deep in others. We stood there and watched cars try to drive through as we waved for them to stop.
Coming soon: "My job is to do my homework and get good grades. My job is to write this column each week and turn it in on time. My job is to help out at home...I would really like to know whose job it is to provide streets with proper drainage so residents can live with no worries of flooding."