Heat, storm combo a one-two property-damage punch in Park Ridge
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:55AM
PARK RIDGE — Soaring temperatures and a relatively dry summer punctuated by sudden and brief storm bursts are making for a challenging July in Park Ridge.
On July 5 heavy winds and rain that made their way though town amid 100-degree temperatures ending up causing power lines to fall across a major Park Ridge street, knocking out electricity to a portion of the neighborhood.
Director of Public Works Wayne Zingsheim said a tree on private property at the corner of Dee Road and Mary Jane Lane fell onto power lines, causing the lines to fall about 4 p.m. onto Dee Road.
All lanes of Dee between Sibley Avenue and Busse Highway were closed to traffic for more than 13 hours until repairs were completed. With temperatures hovering at about 100 degrees during the day and not dropping much overnight, residents in the area had to grapple with a power outage that lasted from 4 p.m. to about 5:30 a.m. the following morning, Zingsheim reported.
The neighborhood affected was roughly bordered by the east side of Dee Road to Broadway Avenue and from Busse Highway to the north and Sibley Avenue to the south.
The brief storm also blew down a handful of tree branches and limbs across town, with reports of about 10 limbs blocking streets and sidewalks, Zingsheim said.
The hot, dry weather may also be contributing to water-main breaks across the city. Zingsheim said Public Works crews responded to five breaks within a one-week period, something that normally happens only in cold weather.
“It’s unusual for July,” Zingsheim acknowledged.
The Public Works director said increased water usage — largely the result of lawn-watering — results in added pressure in the water mains, causing breaks. The ground may also be shifting due to a lack of rain, he added.
Normally the city’s average daily water usage rate is about 3 million gallons. For the month of July it has averaged 8 million gallons per day, Zingsheim said.
That is despite outdoor water restrictions in effect through Sept. 15. In Park Ridge the watering of lawns and gardens, and washing of cars, can only occur on the even- or odd-numbered calendar days that correspond with the last digit of the resident’s house number.
Zingsheim acknowledged that the city has not been actively enforcing the outdoor water restrictions.
Heat may also be playing a factor in the rise in ambulance calls to the Park Ridge Fire Department, though it is often difficult to conclude that patients’ health-related issues were indeed triggered by the scorching temperatures, said Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Sorensen.
Still, calls are up.
“We have been busier since Sunday (July 1),” he said.
The Fire Department is encouraging residents who do not have air conditioning in their homes to take advantage of the city’s official daytime cooling centers. Those include the Park Ridge Public Library, 20 S. Prospect Ave.; the Park Ridge Senior center, 100 S. Western Ave.; and Maine Township Town Hall, 1700 Ballard Road (weekdays only).