By Ken Trainor
By late morning, the cement and gravel dike at Chicago and Thatcher was holding back several inches of water. Chicago Avenue was under water extending west toward Maywood. A couple of Public Works employees came by to check the depth, then moved on. Newly re-elected District 90 school board member Patrick Meyer, who lives just east of Thatcher, came by with his son to check the situation.
"We've learned a lot since 2007," he said, noting the quickness with which the dike went up.
Behind Trailside Museum (which was, of course, closed), the parking lot area had been transformed into a great bayou, and to the south, the Des Plaines River flood plain was filling in with overflow, operating just as the helpful informational signage along the path indicated it would.
A block south of Chicago Avenue, where Oak Street turns into Edgewood Place, a homeowner was making preparations just in case. The water in the flood plain was still low, he said, and the rain was slackening. His house was high enough above the flood plain, so he was cautiously optimistic, but very cautiously. The river wasn't predicted to crest, he said, until Friday.
Down at Lake Street, two police officers in greenish yellow rain slicks were going door to door handing out information notices calling for voluntary flood evacuation. "As of 8:30 a.m.," the notice read, "the river level was already at 16.34 feet, and a major flood is considered to have occurred at 18.5 feet." Sandbagging was underway behind River Oaks Avenue and would continue throughout the day. The sheet also contained "Flood Safety Tips."
Lake Street was submerged almost to the entrance of Auvergne Place, the Frank Lloyd Wright subdivision.
Numerous residents were walking down Lake to inspect the situation, including River Forest Trustee Susan Conti.
But they weren't the only residents affected. On the east side of Thatcher, just north of Lake, a long blue hose extended from the house down the driveway, apparently connected to a pump in either the backyard or the basement. Water was flowing from it steadily.
This article has been updated to correct that Patrick Meyer is a member of the District 90 school board.