Flood Makes DuPage River Roar

DuPage is among 12 counties declared disaster areas after intense rain and flooding recently ravaged the western suburbs. Naperville wasn’t hit as hard as other communities to the north, but the city still felt the effects of the devastating floods.

The roar of the DuPage River going through the Fawell Dam says it all for Glen Gadiano and his family. The dam was opened last weekend after several inches of rain fell in the western suburbs, up to six in some places, and brought a rush of water downstream to Naperville. The waters got awfully close to the Gadiano’s riverside property, and the moment was quite surreal.

“The park bench across the river was completely submerged,” said Gadiano. “And it was a sobering sight for me to see. I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, a few more inches of rain and it could be in my basement.’”

Gadiano bought his house and the property behind it in December of 2009. And when the weekend downfall began, he wasn’t very worried at first.

“My wife had mentioned that there was sand in the cul-de-sac. And that was when I said…there’s something going on.”

While Naperville recorded just over three inches at rain gauges throughout town, cities upstream receiving more than double that caused DuPage County to partially open the dam and bring the water to Naperville. There was some minor flooding in different homes and businesses throughout the city, but disaster was avoided.

“We were very fortunate in the fact that the water got within half an inch of going into Centennial Beach, but it did not go up that extra half-inch,” said Naperville city engineer Bill Novack.

His team provided supplies for sandbags near the city’s flood plains, and did its best to get out the word about the opening of the Fawell Dam.

“We got word out as quick as we could,” Novack said. “The nice thing is every year that things like this happen we find better ways to communicate.”

That’s encouraging for riverside homeowners like Gadiano…who calls living next to the DuPage River “putting up with five days of discomfort for 360 days of enjoyment.” He says if the water had come any closer to his property he was ready to start sandbagging his backyard. He also knows one purchase he’s making as soon as he can.

“I opted not to buy the flood insurance this year,” said Gadiano. “I was going to wait. I’m definitely going to get flood insurance now.”


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