Lyons, Brookfield drenched
Salt Creek overflows after heavy weekend rains
By Steve Metsch
With more rain forecast in the coming days, residents of Lyons and Brookfield who live near Salt Creek are hoping to avoid an encore of May 17.
The Lyons Fire Department was busy that Sunday helping about 50 residents and 19 pets leave their homes that were suddenly flooded after torrential rains caused Salt Creek to overflow its banks.
“Lots of water over here,” Lyons Fire Chief Gordon Nord Jr. said the afternoon of May 18.
He wasn’t kidding.
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The depth was about five feet in some places, Lyons firefighter Mike Coughlin said. He was parked on Arden Avenue to prevent motorists from driving into a temporary lake.
According to the National Weather Service, 3.11 inches of rain fell May 17 at O’Hare. That was on top of the 3.53 inches that fell May 14.
Nord said firefighters showed up around 8:30 a.m. May 17 and were there through May 18. They used a boat to rescue some residents whose homes were surrounded by water.
One of the residents was Shannon Mendoza, who lives on Circle Drive.
“I’ve never left in a boat before until last night,” Mendoza said. “We’ve had flooding before. Not like this. We’ve left our home, never had water in it. We’ve lived there for five years. It’s kind of scary.”
A friend had sent a daughter, Maggie Hiestand, over May 17 to help Mendoza move furniture from the first floor to the second. There is no basement.
“We left because the water (on the first floor) was up to our ankles,” Mendoza said.
Looking at her rental house engulfed by water, Mendoza joked she now had “oceanfront property.”
The neighborhood tends to flood during huge storms, but longtime residents said this was the worst they’ve seen since floods in 2013 and 2009.
“I’ve seen it twice that’s been worse,” Nord said. “But this has been the worst as far as coming out of nowhere very quickly and almost instantly filling up.”
Ogden Avenue and First Avenue were flooded briefly as was a railroad viaduct just north on First Avenue, Nord said.
The neighborhood of Arden Avenue, Southview Avenue and Circle Drive was hard hit, as were residential areas south of Salt Creek.
“We had a pump that was pumping out the intersection (of Southview and Arden) that was flooding, but when the torrential downpour came Sunday—three hours straight of rain—it quickly overpowered the pump and it flooded bigtime,” Nord said.
“It’s like you’re in the rain forest,” he added.
About 40 residences had water in the basement or first floor, he said.
Tess Lesniak, who has lived for eight years at the corner of Arden and Southview, was hauling wet items out of her Brookfield home Monday. She thought herself lucky.
“We just have a little seepage,” Lesniak said. “We’re okay, as long as our pump holds up. It hasn’t turned off. We have two (pumps) in the (sump) pit. We throw in an extra (pump) when this happens. We have an extra one ready to go if we need to swap out.”
Floodwaters flowed swiftly east Monday on Southview and then south down Circle Drive back toward Salt Creek, which circles the neighborhood.
“It’s fast,” Lesniak said. “I don’t want (my children) in the water.”
Standing in front of her garage, Brookfield Fire Chief Jim Adams, Lyons Fire Lt. Jake Buikema, Lyons firefighter/EMT Larry Sherwin and Lyons firefighter/paramedic Alex Hernandez chatted near a Lyons Fire Department boat, waiting for their next call.
The wildest rescues they had were three birds in cages, a baby pit bull with a broken leg, and a 6-foot-3 Lyons man who somehow squeezed his body out of a small window to safety.
“He was good at yoga,” Sherwin joked.
Mendoza was impressed by the quick action of the firefighters.
“We left because the water was up to our ankles,” she said. “And these nice gentlemen took us out on the boat (Sunday) night … Lyons has been great.”
And, she’s grateful for her neighbors.
“I had probably 30 people message me to see if they can help out,” Mendoza said. “This neighborhood is very much like that.”
Flooding after the weekend’s rains was also reported in Summit, with some residents reporting flooded yards, streets, alleys and basements.
The National Weather Service said May is now the rainiest one on record beating the record set last year.
And the forecast is for more rain and warmer temperatures this weekend.
— Desplaines Valley News