News Release
City Services

April 18, 2013

City Officials Provide Update On Response To Heavy Rains

City works aggressively to assist residents and ensure safety of communities

OEMC News Affairs

CHICAGO – The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Department of Water Management, and other City departments and sister agencies today provided an update about the City’s response to the overnight storm system that resulted in 5.5 inches of rain and flooding across Chicago.

“City of Chicago crews have been working throughout the night to address the challenges resulting from the storm,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We are committed to ensuring the safety of our communities and are working as quickly as possible to assist residents affected by flooding.”

The Chicago Department of Water Management has deployed approximately 1,000 employees and is working in cooperation with other city departments and agencies to address various reports of flooded viaducts, basements and streets. In addition, the department is working to control flooding along the Chicago River in the Albany Park neighborhood with sandbags and Jersey barrier.

“We appreciate residents’ patience and understanding as we work to address the challenges brought on by the rain,” said Commissioner Thomas Power, Department of Water Management. “This has been an extraordinary storm, and we are working aggressively with other departments, along with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and sister agencies to address all of the problems the storm has caused.”

Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) electricity crews continue to focus on traffic signal and street light outages as well as downed wires. In addition, CDOT’s bridge crews temporarily closed off access to the Chicago Riverwalk this morning as the river level rose to nearly the end of the seawall.

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, as of 12:30 p.m., 600 flights at O'Hare Airport have been cancelled and 30 flights have been cancelled at Midway Airport. Passengers traveling through Chicago's airports today should check their airline’s website or call to confirm the status of their flight.

As always, OEMC encourages residents to check on neighbors or relatives who are elderly or who have limited mobility. Any resident who feels they are in immediate danger should call 9-1-1 for assistance.

“Our most important message is about safety,” said Gary Schenkel, executive director, Office of Emergency Management and Communications. “If your basement or street is flooded, do not take chances. Personal safety is always more important than property. “

Residents affected by flooding, are advised to remain calm and take the following precautions:

Call 3.1.1 to report street or basement flooding; Do not enter a flooded basement where electricity could be present; Do not walk through moving water; it only takes six inches of moving water to knock a person down; Never drive through a flooded area; if your car stalls in floodwater, exit the car immediately and seek an alternate route on foot ; Once it is safe to enter an interior area damaged by floodwater, wear protective clothing, such as gloves, boots and pants, when cleaning. Use bleach to clean areas and dry area thoroughly to prevent mold growth; and Document and photograph flood damage, and contact your insurance agent if you have flood insurance.

Various watches and warnings ranging from heavy rain from high winds to flash flooding continue in the metropolitan area through Friday, April 20, 2013.

Residents are encouraged to sign up at to receive extreme weather alerts via text message and email.

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The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications was established in 1995 to coordinate the City’s delivery of Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services resources. OEMC operates Chicago’s public safety communications system, managing emergency situations and coordinating major events, 3.1.1 and 9.1.1 Communications Operations. For more information visit our website at or “like” us on Facebook at