The Epic Flood of Chicago 2013 - Part 1

Depending on your area news reporting you may have heard about the massive flooding that the entire Chicago area is experiencing.

Old records have been shattered in many parts of the areas and the local rivers and streams have hit levels never seen before. 

Just about 2 blocks from my back door flows the Salt Creek which then empties in to the Des Plaines River. I have lived in this area for the vast majority of my life and have never seen this level of flooding.  

Part one will focus on the Salt Creek near my house
You would normally see a near vertical bank that goes down to the water surface about 8' down
Top of some old bridge supports that normally stick out of the water by about 8'
A low and slow moving creek normally that has quadrupled in size. 
Another person seeing the record levels on this small creek
Note the two cars stranded atop the bridge. 

We now move to the front side of the houses along the creek.....

This intersection seems to flood every couple of years. What is abnormal about this one is how far north and south (looking down this street) that the water is reaching.

The redish brick home is approximately 3' under water in this picture. There are windows to the basement that are completely covered by water. I had driven through this intersection about 8 hours earlier and there was only a foot of standing water. 
Moving westward.............

There is only one time that I can remember seeing water make it to this block and that was back in 2008 I believe.

As I walked through the alley to reach the next block, hoses like these were busy pumping as much water out of basements as possible. The constant drone of generators and pumps could drive a person mad. 

A resident trying to get home after work

Water making it to the west side of this block

Residents all teaming up to fill sandbags

After this, I headed back home (which is one more block west) to tend to my flooded basement. The streets were completely dry.

Approximately an hour later I heard a knock at the door followed by a lady speaking with a loud sense of urgency, "If those are your cars on the street, you better put them in the driveway! The water is rushing in!"

Curious by this, I looked out the window and was shocked to see water quickly filling into my street. I have NEVER seen this before.

This was the water as it was coming in.

The foot of my driveway
This is from the intersection of my block and the east/west street  (looking west)
Same intersection looking further south
The water was filling my neighbor's basement through the window
Cars like this were driving the wrong way down my street and creating wakes that made the situation even worse. 

 Overnight, the water rose approximately 6 more inches judging by the scattered debris line. By 6:30 this morning, most of it has receded from my block and I imagine that it will slowly continue to recede easterly as the day progresses.

Part 2 will follow shortly showing the Des Plaines River at the old Hoffman Dam and in Riverside.


  1. Wow! That is a lot of water! We had flooding around here last week that was bad enough to keep my horses confined to their sheds for three days, and I ended up with a flooded basement when the power went out for a day (other people were out for days). The lake in my front yard has only just started to disappear. On the bright side, the frogs in my swamp are enjoying it, I've never heard so much noise from them. I hope your home didn't suffer too much damage.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Argosgirl! How did the horses handle that?? Seems like they might start to get nervous in they were being surrounded.

      It sounds like the power outage was your major issue! No power plus water equals flooded basements for sure!! How you aren't too tired from cleaning to go fishing

    2. The horses adapt. As long as they have food, they're not too worried.

      The basement emptied pretty quickly once the power came back on and the pump got working. The beauty of an old farm house is that you know better than to keep anything in the water-prone basement!

  2. Long after clean up, document waterlines for 100/500 year floods. Might help with your insurance. Devastating mess.... Rob

    1. Sounds like a good idea! Thanks, Rob.

      The amazing/sad part is that my neighborhood wasn't even close to being the worst hit areas.

  3. Oh you guys are hit bad too. We live in Des Plaines, just 4 blocks off the Des Plaines river. It's really bad by us. Check out this link to see Downtown Des Plaines where the original McDonalds is located.


    Stay safe and dry.

    1. Crazy stuff! Des Plaines was definitely hit hard. I was looking at pics of Gene and Judes...looks like a new boat through window place

    2. I know - can you believe that? I think I'll wait awhile before I eat there again. LOL.

  4. walt franklin4/19/2013 3:17 PM

    Sorry that you had such a deluge. Good documentary on a bad situation. Hopefully, out here in the East, we'll have a more moderate response to this system. Keep your chin up.

    1. I personally lucked out compared to some of my neighbors. I took advantage and did all the documenting I could! It will be neat to look back at this in a few years.

      I think it's time to go fish the flooded fields!

  5. My parents had to wade through theigh high water to get to their cars to go to work this morning.

  6. Nice pictorial ... I feel bad for my neighbors as well. Stay high and dry!

  7. Wow, great pictures! Glad to hear that you were one of the lucky ones in the area. Maybe, you'll find some of those Salt Creek carp swimming around in some of those pools.


Let's hear it!


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