Photo Essay



On Saturday, September 13, 2008, exceptionally heavy rains hit the Chicago area. By the end of that day, a record 6.64 inches of rain had fallen. These rains continued until midday Sunday before finally ceasing.

As the rain fell, water levels on the North Branch of the Chicago River rose rapidly. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, the River began overflowing its banks. Especially affected was the residential community of Albany Park on Chicago's Northwest Side, where low riverbanks and retention walls rendered the area vulnerable to flooding. Sandbagging was either ineffective or undertaken too late. Consequently, streets were under water in the proximity of the River and many homes suffered flooded basements and other property damage.

Monday and Tuesday, September 15 and 16, saw the city engage in massive cleanup and relief efforts in the flooded neighborhood. Additional sandbags were laid, flooded basements were pumped out and water damaged property was removed and trucked away.

I live in Albany Park near the Chicago River (fortunately on high ground unaffected by the floodwaters) and this photo essay attempts to document how fellow residents and municipal relief workers dealt with neighborhood conditions on September 14, 15 and 16, 2008.

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