Nov 11, 2023

Chicago flash flooding damage: As teams assess storm effects, some Austin residents describe 3 feet of water with sewer backup

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Teams were assessing storm damage in Chicago's Austin neighborhood Tuesday.

The sweltering dry weather was far different than the conditions earlier this month.

Some residents shared they had more than 3 feet of water in their basements, with sewer backup mixed in.

Elaine Crawford said she was trapped in bed by the floodwaters.

"She was stuck in the bed; I was out, and I couldn't get her up out of there," Crawford's fiancé Ronald Henderson said.

The couple said they lost everything.

"We don't have nothing; we're staying with a neighbor. She told us she doesn't want to seen us out here like this, and this have been since July 2nd and what's this, July 25?" Henderson said.

RELATED: West Side residents impacted by heavy flooding seek financial help, answers from government

They are among hundreds of residents sharing information, as part of the official joint preliminary damage assessment with city, state and federal agencies.

"We are out here this week, and, if we need to be into next week, we will to capture the damage," said Tom Sivak, the regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

It's a step toward, what some hope, is a federal disaster declaration and money to help residents.

Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke with some residents with damage Tuesday.

"We need every single resident who has been impacted by this storm to call 311, make sure there is a full assessment of the damage," Johnson said.

"I can't even afford even a new water heater on top of the mortgage and lights and taxes," resident Jimmy Blaine said.

Most of the damage claims in Chicago are in Alderperson Emma Mitts' ward. She and her family even had flooding in their homes.

"We are in this mess here when people in other parts of Chicago probably don't know what we are talking about, and it's very devastating," said Mitts, with the 37th Ward.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications said the 311 line is only for current issues.Those with flood damage should visit or call the special toll-free application number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 1-800-462-7585.Residents can also register online at