More than six inches of rain fell in Oak Park during Sunday’s flash flood, according to a report from the National Weather Service. The rainfall came after a weekslong-drought but the fast and furious precipitation led to an excess of standing water, which flowed uninvited into many basements.
The heavy rain overwhelmed the region’s sewer system, causing sewage and storm water to back up into basements.
The Village of Oak Park received “a couple dozen” reports from residents of flooded basements, but the number is likely higher, according to Oak Park spokesperson Erik Jacobsen. No damage to public property has been reported at this time.
Flood cleanup is underway with LRS Waste Management Services picking up flood-damaged bulk items with no pink stickers required. Those items should be put in the regular collection area. A return to regular collection will be delayed by one day due to the Fourth of July holiday.
“Garbage trucks will make the pickups on the regularly scheduled trash and recycling collection day over the next few weeks,” said Jacobsen.
In an emergency press release related to the flash flood warning issued just before noon July 2, it was reported that up to three inches of rain had already accumulated at a rate of two inches per hour.
Only one to three inches of rain was expected, far less than what actually fell during the flash flood. Flooding at Des Plaines Avenue prompted Illinois State Police to close the Eisenhower Expressway westbound at Harlem Avenue. Oak Park Public Works staff was on call Sunday afternoon and evening to investigate instances of standing water on streets.
Instructions to protect basements from future flooding are available on the village’s website and include such tips as limiting the use of washing machines, dishwashers, sinks and toilets during heavy rainfall as all feed into the sewer system.