Web Extra! Updated 7/24/2010 5:54 p.m.
First Avenue is now closed between Cermak and Ogden.
At 4:46 p.m. the Des Plaines River was at 8.73 feet. It is expected to crest at 9.2 feet.
In Riverside, officials are asking residents on Pine Street near West Avenue to evacuate their homes.
In Brookfield 31st Street is closed between Vernon and First Avenue. Prarie Avenue is closed between 31st Street and Garfield.
In Riverside Forest Avenue is closed between Longcommon and First Avenue. Southbound Woodside is closed at 31st Street.
A portion of Fairbank Road is closed in Riverside.
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Heavy overnight rains combined with recent severe rainfall north of Chicago swelled rivers overnight well past flood stage, and the worst is yet to come according to the National Weather Service.
In Riverside, the Des Plaines rose almost five feet overnight. As of 11:45 a.m., the river was at 8.02 feet, which is more than a foot over flood stage. The National Weather Service is predicting that the river will crest at 9.2 feet by midnight. At that height Riverside streets near the Des Plaines will experience some flooding.
First Avenue between Ogden and Forest was closed to traffic between about 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. as water flooded the railroad underpass. One car tried to make it through after the road was closed, said Riverside Fire Chief Kevin Mulligan, but was stuck and had to be towed away.
Earlier this morning a Riverside Public Works front-end loader was pushing water up the roadway in both directions from the underpass to aid in getting the street open to traffic.
In Brookfield streets near Salt Creek had already flooded, as that river rose eight feet in 12 hours overnight, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Web site. The river swelled from two feet to just over 10 feet overnight at Western Springs.
At Arden and Southview in South Hollywood, a car sat stranded in the middle of the street with water reaching halfway up the vehicle. The driver had tried, unsuccessfully, according to one resident, to find a way past the First Avenue detour.
Residents in the 3500 block of Forest Avenue, meanwhile, watched as a white minivan was towed away after trying to make it through waist-deep water just south of Washington Avenue.
Mostly, though, the residents expressed disgust at what has become a common occurrence at a low-point in the street. A road and sewer improvement project was supposed to have solved the problem. Residents say it has gotten worse.
“There have been many more instances of standing water since that’s been put in,” said resident Cathy Stanek-Whisler. “[Village officials] refuse to believe us. I didn’t think that two times a year I’d have to go downstairs and scrub it with bleach. It’s so aggravating.”
Ed Banenas, who lives a couple of doors south said that he had just had insurance adjustors at his home in the wake on the June 23 flooding in the area.
“What, am I going to call them again?” he asked. “Before they did the street we never had any problems. We’ve had floods three times in the last two years.”
A block away, citizens were attempting to divert traffic from the intersection of Washington and Prairie, which was underwater.
“We’re all trying to stop people from going, but they just go through,” said Carla Close-Prosen.
“Each time they make a wave, which pushed the water into these people’s basement,” she added, gesturing to the home on the southeast corner of the street. By about 11 a.m., public works had closed the intersection to traffic.
And over on the 9500 block of Jackson Avenue, Leanne and Ed Digan were reliving a regular problem. Their property is apparently at a low spot on the block and when there are heavy rains, water from the whole block drains through their yard toward the sewer in the street in front of the home.
They’ve petitioned to get the alley paved to solve the problem, but can’t get a majority of homeowners to sign on. There’s no drainage structure in the alley, so water simply seeks its own level.
“We can’t do anything about it unless it’s paved,” Leanne Digan said. ” We need some type of relief to get the water to drain down the middle of the alley.”