Suburban Chicago Hospital Reopens as Illinois Floods Begin to Recede

Sean Breslin
Published: July 18, 2017

As thousands in northern Illinois clean up from flood damage and prepare for the possibility of more rising water, one Chicago-area hospital has reopened after it was closed for a week.

In a statement obtained by the Associated Press, Northwestern Medicine confirmed Lake Forest Hospital resumed operations Tuesday morning in Lake Forest, Illinois. The hospital lost power last Wednesday, but it was restored later that day, the AP also said.

Days after Gov. Bruce Rauner declared a state disaster as a response to the floods, he added Cook County – Chicago included – to the declaration Monday morning, the AP also said. The original disaster declaration was for Lake, McHenry and Kane counties and was issued Friday morning, the report added.

In Cook County alone, the floodwaters damaged 2,100 structures and threatened as many as 5,800, officials said Friday in a news conference.

"Until the water goes down, it's hard to get a firm number," Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson told Reuters. "We still have a few more days when we're going to see levels rising in some of these areas."

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Some of the worst impacts have occurred near the Fox River, which snakes through the four counties under the disaster declaration. As he toured flood-damaged areas in the town of Algonquin, a village of about 30,000 located some 40 miles northwest of Chicago, Rauner warned residents that evacuations could be necessary if the problems worsened.

"We are anticipating what could be very significant flooding," he told reporters. "We are making a strong request: if local officials ask for evacuations, please honor their request."

By Tuesday morning, the Fox River at Algonquin had risen above 12 feet and was nearing a crest at 12.37 feet. The record for that location, set April 23, 2013, is 12.7 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Those who experienced the 2013 flood said this deluge has happened much more slowly, and that has given residents more time to gather their belongings and prepare for evacuations. People who live along the river, like Dan Prokop, have taken advantage of the extra time to build sandbag walls they hope will keep the water out, he told the Daily Herald.

"Luckily, this time, the flood is slow enough ... and we have plenty of stuff," he said. "We've survived so far. We'll survive this, too."

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