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Safety in a Flood

The flood plain is made up of two components: the flood way and the flood fringe. The flood way is a more restrictive development area than the flood fringe. All of the residential areas within the Village of Winnetka that are located within the flood plain are located within the flood fringe.

Although the Village of Winnetka has not witnessed a 100-year flood event in recent history, we have experienced several 100-year plus storm events, most recently in April of 2013, July of 2011 and September of 2008.

Flood Causes
The most common source of flooding occurs during heavy rainstorm events when the capacity of the storm sewers has been exceeded due to the increase of stormwater flow. This situation can readily worsen if the storm sewer inlet structures or other stormwater conveyance systems are covered or blocked. Once stormwater starts ponding on the street surface, the potential for that water to infiltrate into the sanitary sewer system, increases.  As a result, basement back-ups can occur for those homes with a gravity sanitary sewer.

Flood Preventative Measures
Ditches, swales, streams and other water conveyance systems, including storm inlets and manholes, should be kept clear at all times. Even grass clippings, mulch and branches can accumulate and block drainage.

Safety Tips
During a storm or flood event, please keep the following safety precautions in mind:

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive and six inches of moving water can knock you off of your feet.  If you have to walk through standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.  Often the force of water can lift manhole covers, and falling into one could cause serious injury.
  • Avoid driving through a flooded area. Don’t drive around road barriers.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires, as electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines, power outages or water outages to 847-501-2531.
  • Look out for small animals, especially snakes.  Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours.
  • Look before you step. After a flood, the ground is often covered by debris.
  • Be alert for gas leaks.
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