Naperville experienced more than six inches of rainfall, which caused major flooding through out the area; enough for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to declare a state of emergency.
With the rain came many closures of roads and walkways. The Eagle St. Bridge outside the Municipal Center was closed to all pedestrians and drivers.
Centennial beach, drained for the season, filled with raging floodwaters and Century Walk statues were submerged into rising tides.
Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday night city officials decided to open the Fawell Dam to keep some control of the rising water. Despite the instructions to evacuate the area, many curious citizens couldn’t fight the urge to catch a glimpse for themselves.
“Because it’s exciting,” said Naperville resident, Robert Faessel when asked why he wanted to be at the Riverwalk. “You don’t see this everyday.”
In preparation for the increase of water, downtown business owners rallied together to fill sandbags to protect their properties from damage.
“I thought the city would cut my electric, and they haven’t so that scares me,” said Debbie Jagel, owner of Ootra on the corner of Main St. and Water St. “We’ve been sandbagging a little bit and we picked everything up off the floor. That was the only thing I could do. I couldn’t carry anything out of the store it would be incomprehensible.”
People from all over the city came to do what they could to help, many hearing about it from social media.
“I happened to be checking Facebook and a friend of mine made a post saying they need help,” said Tom Liabo, a Naperville Resident. “There’s a ton of people down here trying to save the local businesses, so I figured I could get down here and lend a hand.
With more rain expected overnight, who knows how high the river will get.
The latest closures as of 10:30 p.m. April 18:
The Washington St. Bridge and Eagle St. Bridge are closed until further notice, however the Washington St. Bridge is expected to reopen between midnight and 1:00 a.m. The city is also still encouraging residents to avoid the downtown area if possible.
Jefferson Ave. is also closed to traffic at the bridge due to water on the road.
Current road closures that could effect your morning commute are:
Naper Blvd. from Chicago Ave. to Hobson Rd.
Washington St. south of Royce Rd.
North Aurora Rd. west of Rt. 59 and between Rt. 59 and Tudor
111th-248th west to the Railroad
The City of Naperville’s interactive flood map will be fully updated by 5:00 a.m. Friday to assist residents in planning their routes.
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