Thursday, April 18, 2013

Flood in Chitown!

 We have had SO much rain here lately! It usually starts to rain either when I'm dropping the boys off at school or right at 3pm when I'm picking them up. And 9/10 times I forget the umbrella. sigh.

Yesterday, there was a horrible hail storm in the morning. As in, the ground was completely covered in hail in about a minute and it was loud and crazy! Then it rain off and on alllll day, which escalated into a downpour by bedtime.

And it didn't stop for almost 13 hours!! And I mean downpour. For 13 hours straight. We were woken up at 4am by a flood alert on our phones (anyone else get the new amber/weather alerts on their cells now?). We decided to go down and check our basement because we've had a tiny bit of flooding a couple times before. We came down armed with a stack of towels only to find it perfectly dry! We left the towels on the stairs just in case. You could hear the sump pump working hard all night long.

When we woke up and started getting everyone ready for school, we found that our backyard was a lake! There was SO much water and it was still pouring rain! Ben went down to check the basement and found that the usual water had come in through the front basement wall and was making it's way towards the stairs. We threw down towels all over and tried to soak up the mess. We peeked out into the common basement area (a long hallway that runs the length of all 4 townhouses and where our storage closets and laundry area is.) to see if anything was wet and found the ceiling outside our basement dripping and a little water running along the walls and into the drains. We called the landlords to give them a heads up and then went on feeding everyone.

Then Ben went to take the boys to school (a lot of schools were closed but not ours!) and this is what our street looked like! As my sister and a friend said, "What street?!" Ben was gone a lot longer than usual and when he came back he said that several side streets around the school were blocked off due to flooding and it had taken so long to get to school. Crazy!

I was skyping with my Sis in the mid-morning when Ben suddenly came up and told me he needed my help with the water. I came down to find that a gush of water had come into our basement under the basement door (that leads to the common basement area) and when I opened the door, not only did water come pouring in but I found one of our landlords sloshing through several inches of water. It was an absolute mess!!

I snapped a quick picture but it was still gushing in and rose a lot higher before it was all over. We grabbed every towel possible in the house and tried blocking up the door (it has a big gap underneath it) and the walls where it was coming in.

It was completely unstoppable. We spent so long wringing out towels in a bucket and dumping buckets of water out but it was seriously like bashing your head against the wall for the fun of it. Totally worthless!

The water continued to creep farther and farther into the basement until finally it covered every inch of it.

We stacked anything on the ground that was destroyable on the stairs.

The water was so gross and brown! Thankfully, it wasn't sewer water, just ground water but still! Gross.

It was between 2-3 inches deep, especially in the middle.

We had a huge stack of towels stuffed under the door but the water just came through the walls and there was nothing we could do. When we removed the towels so B could get out to see if anything was draining in the outer basement, water came pouring into our basement. We were a little overwhelmed because our landlords didn't do anything for a long time! They had turned off the sump pump because it couldn't keep up with the amount of water. We had no idea how we were going to clean this up!

Thankfully, not too much was destroyed. Some really minor stuff. The worst was a big library book of Ben's from school that will cost at least $100 to replace. We're a little sick about that but it could've been SO much the people whose cars fell in the sinkhole in SE Chicago! We feel so bad for the people who lost so much today and face a far, far bigger clean-up than we do.

In the mid-afternoon, the landlord's son came over and started pumping everything out into the parking lot. He assured us that it would come out of our basement, too and they would help get it cleaned up.

It took a LONG time to pump it all out. Ben pushed a lot of the water out as it pump out with a big brush (squidjee?) and the landlords handed out huge fans and de-humidifiers.

They only just left a bit ago after working for 5-6 hours! All the boxes in our storage closet were destroyed but I haven't the heart or energy to really investigate that closer. Maybe tomorrow.....

The storage doors are all propped open, our furnace has been relit and hopefully will keep working, the humidifier is going strong and we are left with the large task of mopping, cleaning and spraying down everything. Who knows what was in that water!!! They will be coming back to access the damage to the ceiling, woodwork and stairs carpeting.

Ours was the only one of all 3 of the buildings (one in front and one in back of us) to get completely flooded. Our neighbor on the very end was not called and warned about the flooding and came to our door at 5:30pm in tears because she had come home to find her basement filled, her piles of laundry completely soaked and some kitchen appliance she had stored, ruined. We felt so bad for her!

In a very baby way, it made me think of people who go through real actual floods and how that must feel. I can't even imagine! We are so thankful it wasn't worse, that we really have nothing to complain about like the people whose houses and cars are half under water. We got around 7 inches of rain in less than a day!!

Now, I'd better get a good night's sleep so I can have the energy to do some serious cleaning tomorrow!


Grandma W said...

That is a lot of water. It could always be worse, but still, it is not fun. I am wondering if you can claim some things on your renter's insurance? It may or may not be worth it once the deductible is met, but may be worth checking out. When we lived on Calico Ct. the basement flooded - twice. Had about 8 inches of water. among other things, we lost lots of pictures and my grandmothers Bible. Water damage can be extensive even when just a few inches. I feel for you guys. Also, the landlords are hopefully mindful of watching/checking for mold?? Praying for you all. Love you.

Emily and Frank said...

What a mess! I'm sorry you're having to deal with all of that and that you lost some of your possessions. Praying that the rain will stay away for a while!