PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Pekin residents were caught off-guard Wednesday after severe storms touched down in multiple cities around Central Illinois. At the intersection of 2nd and Hamilton streets, water pushed its way through the cracks of the cement and flowed down the road.
Neighbors on surrounding blocks walked out of their houses after the properties filled with water, some of them distraught. Nearby residents checked on each other and worked together to clear debris from the drains so the water would dissipate faster.
“It’s inconvenient for us but it’s more of a problem that these goofy side people think they got the right to motorboat through it,” Dean Gesell of Pekin said. However, it was more than an inconvenience for Jenifer Wisher, whose home and belongings sustained severe water damage.
Wisher has to spend the next few days draining water and cleaning, but the rest of her life missing destroyed mementos that she calls irreplaceable.
“My moms stuff and my nephews, I just lost her a year ago and I stored all of her stuff in a back room which the water reached and I could only get what I could get,” Wisher said. “So if it’s not replaceable to me nobody can replace it, she’s gone.”
Wisher said water started flowing into her house quickly and she tried to save what she could, but she did not have enough time.
Nearby neighbors had similar issues, while they did not say they lost irreplaceable items they did say the water infiltrated their homes. Some neighbors said this happens all the time, but pointed out that the severity of this incident surpasses previous floods.
Matthew Roby of Pekin said he saw the road crack and cement begin to lift up as the water rushed out of the ground. “Have you ever just blown air into a balloon and watched it inflate that’s literally what it looked like happened,” he said.
Roby said he used his car as a barricade to stop people from driving through the water.
“I ended up blocking off traffic and trying to guide them in the right direction because that could be life-threatening,” he said.
Before the road was blocked off Dean Gesell of Pekin said multiple cars drove through the standing water. “I [saw] a car do it today and I thought he was gonna drown in it because the water was above the car,” he said.
Although property owners cannot control the weather, they are calling on city officials to look into the drainage issue and fix it immediately.