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Burbank Residents Fear More Flooding From Latest Storm

Updated 09/10/14 - 11:25 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Rain fell steadily across the Chicago area Wednesday morning, and though the storm system has begun clearing out as it heads east, more rain could be on the way Wednesday evening.

CBS 2 Meteorologist Megan Glaros reports, with although the rain was not nearly as heavy as storms late last month, with a near constant rainfall Wednesday morning, some areas might hit the saturation point, leading to flooding problems.

The rain also led to more than 280 flight cancellations at O'Hare International Airport, and two dozen at Midway International Airport, according to the city's Aviation Department.

Wednesday morning's storm system did not include much thunderstorm or lightning activity, mostly just hard and steady rain. A flash flood watch that was in effect most of the morning has been canceled for the Chicago area, though an areal flood advisory remains in effect until 2:30 p.m. for parts of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, and Will counties. According to the National Weather Service, two to four inches of rain fell across the area Wednesday morning, and runoff could cause minor flooding along streams and low-lying areas.


In southwest suburban Burbank, residents feared a repeat of late August, when major flooding sent several inches of water into people's basements, and left several streets looking more like canals, as 4 to 6 inches of rain fell in the area on Aug. 22. Many residents were left with thousands of dollars in damage due to flooding.

WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports Walter Waszczuk and his wife live on the 8500 block of Neenah in Burbank, overlooking the Melvina Ditch Reservoir, which collects stormwater and eventually pumps it into the Cal-Sag Channel.

Last month, their basement flooded because the reservoir couldn't handle all the water.

"I'm not a rocket scientist, but they should drop that wall down a little bit, and dig that hole out maybe another 10-15 feet, and that water would never come over that wall," Waszczuk said.

Shari Hecker's family got more than 30 inches of water in their basement on Aug. 22, and lost plenty of furniture to flood damage. As of late Wednesday morning, their basement was dry, but it was a stressful night wondering if the latest storm would bring a repeat of last month.

Hecker pressed a sandbag against the bottom of her basement door, held in place with a cinderblock, to try to keep water out.

"I was afraid to go to sleep last night," she said."At one point, I told myself there's nothing you can do, and nothing left down there to get ruined; except of course we had to buy another washer and dryer, which are up on cinder blocks."

She said they have had two major floods in the past three years, and occasional water seepage from other storms, but last month was the worst.

Hecker's husband and other Burbank residents were planning to attend the Burbank City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, when officials with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago were scheduled to address residents' concerns about flooding.

MWRD managing civil engineer Ed Staudacher said any flooding until now has been because rain came down too fast for the reservoir to handle.

"Because the reservoir's here, it's not causing flooding. The flooding would be that much worse if you didn't have a reservoir here," he said.

While there had been a risk of severe storms Wednesday evening, that risk has shifted to the east. The Chicago area could get some scattered showers Wednesday evening and early Thursday, but any heavy storm activity should be well south of the area.

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