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Gov. Pritzker Issues State Disaster Proclamation Following Significant Storm Damage in Cook, Lake Counties

Glencoe Beach Included in Disaster Proclamation

Friday, February 7, 2020

Gov. Pritzker Issues State Disaster Proclamation Following Significant Storm Damage in Cook, Lake Counties

Governor JB Pritzker has issued a state disaster proclamation for Cook and Lake Counties to help communities recover from the January 10th winter storm that caused substantial property damage along more than 30 miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline, including Glencoe Beach. The declaration is the first step to allow municipalities to apply for federal funding as they respond to and recover from the effects of severe storms and flooding.
 
“In the wake of another devastating disaster, I have directed all state agencies to help local communities recover and rebuild,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This recent storm brought 23-foot waves onto shoreline areas in the City of Chicago. Critical infrastructure was destroyed, impacting roads, residential neighborhoods and recreational areas. State officials are working hand-in-hand with local governments to find short-term relief and permanent solutions to preserve this natural resource and the economic viability of our iconic shoreline.”
 
"Glencoe Beach is a community treasure, and we are working to take the appropriate steps to preserve and protect our shoreline. Due to the severity of recent storms, we've witnessed irreparable damage to our lakefront and sustained damages we cannot solve alone," said Lisa Sheppard, Glencoe Park District Executive Director. "To respond to the immediate challenges facing our lakefront as highlighted by the storm on January 10 - 11, the Governor has declared disaster status to ensure Glencoe and other lake shore communities receives the needed support for a long term solution. 
 
“The devastating effects of climate change are ravaging our Lake Michigan shoreline,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “This declaration is critical to our ability to access funds to mitigate the damage our shoreline and communities are sustaining.”
 
The January 10 storm that battered Cook and Lake County delivered rain, snow, ice and winds in excess of 50 miles per hour. Significant flooding resulted in the closure of several main thoroughfares in the City of Chicago and grounded thousands of flights at O’Hare International Airport. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects Lake Michigan levels to remain high over the next several months. Future storms that produce high waves and strong winds could further impact shoreline erosion. Motorist and pedestrians are urged to exercise caution in the affected areas, allow for extra travel time and adhere to all closure and detour notices.
 
At this time, Gov. Pritzker is also requesting additional time from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to gather, validate and document the information needed to support a federal disaster declaration. This process will include joint preliminary damage assessment of the affected areas. This locally led assessment is attended by representatives of FEMA, Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The information gathered in this joint assessment is a key piece of documentation in the federal disaster declaration process.
 
Resources are available to local communities at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.