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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Homeowners Hit Hard By September’s ‘Supercell’ Storm And Flooding Won’t Get Federal Relief

Nearly 2,000 North Side residents reported flooding in their basements after the September storm overwhelmed city sewers and created flash floods.

Ravenswood neighbors clearing debris from sewer drains on Sept. 11, 2022.
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PORTAGE PARK — Homeowners who were hit hard by September’s massive rainstorm and flooding won’t get federal relief.

The supercell storm, which drenched hundreds of North and Northwest sides homes Sept. 11, did not meet the criteria needed for those affected to receive federal loans to cover uninsured portions of damage, Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th) said in a newsletter to residents this week.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications worked with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration to survey damage at homes and found 400 homes with uninsured losses, Nugent said, citing a letter from the city’s emergency office.

But only eight properties met the threshold for the loan; for the disaster to qualify for federal relief, at least 25 businesses or homes must have had damage of at least 40 percent of the estimated repair value, Nugent said.

“I am sad to hear that the damage did not meet the threshold needed for our community to qualify,” Nugent wrote in the newsletter. “I know how devastating, costly and stressful it is to clean, repair and rebuild after a storm like this happens.”

People can contact the emergency office’s senior emergency management coordinator, Khalil Muhammad, at Khalil.Muhammad@cityofchicago.org for more information, Nugent said.

Nearly 2,000 North Side residents reported flooding in their basements after the storm overwhelmed city sewers and created flash floods.

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A basement near Foster Avenue and Pulaski Road in North Mayfair floods, toppling a bag of wood chips.

The storm dropped 6 inches of rain at a rate of more than 3 inches per hour, causing water to enter the city’s sewers faster than the gravity fed system’s pipes could process it, officials said at a community meeting about the disaster at the end of September.

Many neighbors and business owners whose homes flooded have found their insurance doesn’t cover the damage and were hoping to be eligible for federal assistance. Some estimated repairs would cost $2,000-$3,000 out of pocket.

Some frustrated residents have questioned why the city’s sewer system could not keep up with the rainfall, but city officials said no sewer system was designed to absorb a storm like that.

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