On July 23rd, 2011, the Chicago, IL metropolitan area was hit by a storm system that resulted in extensive damage across numerous communities. As a community that received heavy flooding damage and experienced utility management issues due to the intensity of the storm, the Village of Winnetka needed to track where flooding was being reported and the nature of each report to help get a village-wide view of the total damage. To assist with this effort, the village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department was asked to store and manage the flooding location data and develop a series of maps showing different aspects of the damage accounts as needed for reporting and analysis.
The primary sources used to develop the damage assessment database were field checks by village staff and damage claims submitted to Cook County by the residents. Using these sources, an extensive list of flooding locations, and the nature of each flooding event, was compiled and made available for mapping. Some of the products generated from the data were a basic map showing flooded properties, a map showing properties with debris piles stacked on the curb, and a map showing the extent of the flooding in one of the hardest hit areas of the village.
By storing and managing this information in GIS, the village now has the ability to develop powerful visual tools for examining the impacts of the storm, assisting with the development of future mitigation strategies, and providing the village council with evidence of how extensive the damage was in an easy-to-understand format.