By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Communities along the Des Plaines River in Lake County, Illinois, saw floodwaters begin to recede over the weekend. But Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday warned that areas along the Fox River might have to be evacuated because the river is expected to rise to record levels early this week, the Chicago Tribune reports.
A record more than 30 years old fell Saturday in Gurnee, when the Des Plaines River crested early Sunday morning at 12.01 feet, topping the record of 11.9 feet set in September 1986.
As of Sunday, July 16, only the Des Plaines River at Lincolnshire was predicted to rise and crest at 16.2 feet on Monday. The long-range forecast calls for the Des Plaines to fall below its seven-foot flood stage by Wednesday or Thursday.
Fox River Is Expected to Rise Six More Feet by Tuesday
As volunteers prepared sandbags at the public works building in Algonquin, Rauner announced that local officials might call for the evacuation of residents in Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook counties. The Fox River is expected to climb another six feet by Tuesday, July 18.
“We want everyone to know that flooding can be significant, and we may be calling for evacuations,” Rauner told a news conference.
“We are going to count on local officials to decide when to ask for evacuations,” he said. “We cannot force people to leave their homes. People are tough. If they’ve been through a flood before, often they don’t want to leave. But we are making a strong request: If local officials have asked for an evacuation, honor their request. Please leave. Do not stay.”
“We've been through this before,” Algonquin village president John Schmitt told the Tribune. “We've had other floods. But we’ve gotten better and better at managing emergency response,” he said. “We’re still going to see a lot of damage. We're still going to see a lot of trouble along the river.”
State’s Emergency Personnel Are on Standby
Volunteers prepared 550,000 sandbags for the affected areas. Illinois emergency personnel are on standby. The state is also not ruling out asking for federal disaster assistance, Rauner told the Tribune.
Red Cross responders will continue to offer food, water, cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothing and other items throughout the week, according to Mike Landt, an American Red Cross volunteer. He said other shelters were popping up, based on the need of affected communities.
Landt added that about 10 people spent Saturday night at a makeshift shelter in a local school. Shelter cots are available for those who have been temporarily displaced. Residents seeking assistance can call the American Red Cross local hotline at 847-220-7495.
“As long as there's a need, we’ll be here,” Landt said.
Last week, two to three inches of rain fell per hour Wednesday night, flooding homes and swelling rivers and streams. The rain also forced some hospital evacuations.
By early Thursday July 11, more than eight inches of rain had fallen in some areas.
High winds and downed trees knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes, officials said. Many roads were closed. In Chicago, the north branch of the Chicago River rose to about five feet, just two feet below the flood stage.
About the Author
David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. David’s 2015 book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever,” was recently published in paperback by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.