Chicago Weather: Warmer temps, rain brings threat of flooding

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Warmer temperatures and rain are heading for the Chicago area, and the melting of all that snow brings with it the threat of flooding.

The area will gradually begin to thaw out Thursday.

There are a few things homeowners need to look out for, like the downspouts on your home. Several homes have older types of downspouts, where water can collect right at the foundation.

First, there are concerns about the salt supply in Chicago.

Salt shortage. Those are the words Alderman Roderick Sawyer used in a press release Thursday. The I-Team rushed to the 6th Ward to question the Alderman and found a pile of salt.

The Streets and Sanitation Commissioner was quick to point out there is not a shortage.

"We want to manage our resources," said Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams. "That's part of what we do as part of our snow programs. We manage the amount of salt we place on the street and we monitor it on a regular basis."

The alderman said the commissioner called him to explain how salt is being distributed.

"I was glad we had that conversation," Sawyer said. "It was very enlightening, but at the same time I felt we should be given this ammunition since we're all fighting together. We should have same information to disseminate to our constituents."

Aldermen are feeling the heat as crews continue to clear side streets. And the heat from a mercury standpoint will rise all day Friday, hitting 40 after dark.

And that's why crews in the suburbs are clearing drains, preparing for snow to thaw and the rain to fall.

"You add all that up and that's about two inches of water that's we're going to make sure find their way into drains and not into people's yards and homes and things like that," said Paul Tobin, Morton Grove Public Works. "So we'll be busy."

And with the thaw, Michael Menn, an architect and homebuilder, says homeowners should make sure sump pump discharges are cleared, downspouts too and watch out for those gutters and potential roof and water damage.

"As the water backs up the roof, there is a possibility of it backing up down your walls, into your attic and when water is present, mold is present," Menn said.

Snow crews also say it's very helpful if people park their cars in the driveway, which gives crews a change to clean streets and drains.

And Chicago crews, as well as those in the suburbs, will certainly be doing that Thursday.

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