Updated 07/28/11 – 10:00 p.m.
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) — The storms Wednesday night and Thursday morning couldn’t have come at a worse time for residents of the northern suburbs.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, many are still recovering from all the heavy rain and flooding they sustained earlier in the week. And, what’s worse, even more rain is expected to hit the area Thursday night.
As homeowners in Waukegan started to see some dry land late Thursday morning, trash was piling up. And a closer look shows that much of what has been lost is irreplaceable.
Brad Eisenberg felt like his home was afloat on a lake.
“It was up around here; it was up over the step just barely coming up here,” Eisenberg said as he motioned toward the top step toward his house. “That was from the street all the way to here.”
The heavy downpour was just too much for the sewers in the neighborhood.
“The sewers couldn’t handle it all. They were clogged. The city needs to do something about it,” Eisenberg said.
Overnight, city crews cleaned up the sewers, and the water slowly disappeared. But what has appeared instead is just as depressing.
“Everything’s got to be thrown out,” Eisenberg said. “The only thing that’s savable is laundry.”
Eisenberg said the water line in the basement was above his knees; about 2 1/2 feet in some places.
Eisenberg lost a washer and dryer, and a computer. But more importantly, he lost many priceless mementoes.
“Everything can be replaced. Pictures can’t,” he said.
“These are all baby pictures and cards, and just all that stuff is completely gone now,” said his daughter, Rebecca Eisenberg.
Meanwhile, there are still puddles of water on the ground that need to be emptied out.
“There’s still some. We’ve still got a mop, squeegee, and get some more clothes off the floor,” Eisenberg said. “It’s got to get dry. We’ll try to do what we can with it.”
He said the cleanup process would take a couple of days.
All across the neighborhood, pile after pile of trash was found in front of each successive house, and cleaning up inevitably will be a time-consuming process.
Some Waukegan residents were bracing for potentially more rain overnight.
“No rain. I will cry if there’s rain because I mean we’re going to be in big trouble,” Danielle Zenner told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones.
Workers at Jim McCormack’s house were ripping out paneling and pulling out insulation soaked with stuff the sewer spit out.
He’s hoping any rain that Friday morning won’t be enough to back up the sewer system again.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, flooding also was having a dramatic economic impact on nearby Gurnee, where sales of flood-related equipment were especially brisk on Thursday.
Empty shelves used to be stocked with generators. Ace stores in the area sold all 300 generators that were in stock just two days ago.
Homeowner Deb Schmidt was at the Ace hardware store in Gurnee on Thursday to buy a dehumidifier for her basement, after flooding ruined a freshly laid carpet.
“Normally, we don’t take any water in our basement. And, apparently, yesterday’s deluge came down through the sides. And so we had brand new carpet down there that we’re trying to dry out, but thankfully nothing else.”
Over the past two days, sump pump sales have soared.
Store manager John Skrzypinski said the Ace hardware stores in the area have sold at least 100 sump pumps in the past few days.
“It’s been amazing sales with the heavy rains and that, and the failures of some of the pumps — and batteries, too. The backup batteries have been going very fast as well,” he said.
The recent power outages in the area created a run on batteries, flashlights and chainsaws.
“We sold all of our initial order that we had on our steel chainsaws. We’ve had to send trucks out to get more from the supplier. And now we’re in good shape with them, but they’re still selling at a very brisk pace,” Skrzypinski said.
Homeowner Fred Markus said he’s had to replace plenty of batteries for the smoke detectors and flashlights at his house.
While Ace employees have been busy helping customers get back on track, employees had their own hardships after the storm. Some had no power in their own homes, but they came to work, helping customers get through the store with flashlights when the store was without power for two days.