storm 2017-02-28 012
Local News

Storms overnight cause flooding but little damage

  One car remains stranded at the west end of the 
  Dixie Highway viaduct in Homewood shortly before 
  midnight Tuesday.
(Photos by Eric Crump/H-F 

A series of strong storms pummeled the Homewood-Flossmoor area Tuesday night, producing high winds, hail and localized flooding that blocked Homewood’s viaducts and a number of streets.

The Homewood Fire Department had 26 responses to storm-related situations, according to Fire Chief Bob Grabowski. 

  Piles of hail remain in 
  front of Homewood police 
  and fire departments on 
  Dixie Highway shortly 
  before midnight Tuesday 
  following several waves 
  of torrential rain. 


In four cases, firefighters were called to rescue people trapped in vehicles that were stranded in high water, one at the Dixie Highway viaduct, two at the 183rd Street viaduct and one in the 900 block of 175th Street.

No one was injured in any of the incidents, Grabowski said.


Flossmoor Fire Department Captain Matt Berk reported the storms did not create much damage but kept police, fire and public works personnel working through the night to clear debris from streets.

As is often the case, the 183rd Street viaduct flooded temporarily during the most intense storms but was passable soon after as storm sewer pumps removed the excess water. 

The Dixie Highway viaduct, however, was closed for more than 10 hours, according to Homewood Public Works Director John Schaefer. The drainage system at the Dixie Highway viaduct is not equipped with pumps, and a partially collapsed drainage line nearby prevents water from flowing away quickly.

Homewood Public Works also had a busy night, with crews working through the night to keep storm sewer grates clear of debris.

Crews also temporarily closed about 20 flooded streets in Homewood.

Especially during nighttime storms, motorists often cannot tell how deep water over the roadway is until it’s too late, Schaefer said. 

Closing streets reduces the number of stranded motorists and helps reduce water movement caused by passing vehicles, which can make basement flooding worse if standing water is nearing homes.

Schaefer said most of the streets were open by early Wednesday morning.
Schaefer said Homewood received nearly 2 inches of rain by 9 p.m. and 2.61 inches total. Rain began falling about 5:30 p.m.

He said there were three rounds of hail, with the last one at about 9 p.m. producing five-eighths-inch stones.


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