It’s raining, it’s pouring…What does that mean? - Metropolitan Planning Council

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It’s raining, it’s pouring…What does that mean?

As April showers flood basements and cause general consternation, MPC’s Josh Ellis can provide some context

In the past few years, big storms—and lots of them—have become a staple of spring in Chicago. Flooded basements, flooded streets and ruined possessions come with them. But that story has already been told. At the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), we work every day to figure out how to turn this frustration into an asset.

According to the Illinois State Water Survey, by 2100, 100-year storms (those with a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year) will be 15 percent more frequent than they are today. And that’s without taking into account turning more green space into asphalt as our region and others continue to urbanize. At the same time, the rainfall data we use to correctly size new storm sewers are sometimes more than a half-century old. That means we’re putting storm sewers into operation today that can’t handle current or future stormwater levels. That’s not very smart.

MPC Director Josh Ellis studies both rain gardens and giant infrastructure projects like the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan. He is leading a multi-agency team to put those solutions in place, all to better manage the amount of rain we get so that possessions aren’t ruined, cars aren’t flooded and the hair-tearing frustration that comes with big storms today is a thing of the past tomorrow.

If you cover April and May’s inevitable spring showers, Josh would be happy to provide thoughtful and accessible context for your audience. You can get in touch with him via MPC Communications Director Mandy Burrell Booth at 312 863 6018 or


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For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

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