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Flood damage assessed for possible disaster declaration

(Lathan Goumas –
Flood waters fill Harriet Lane near the intersection of South River Road in Holiday Hills on Monday. Six damage assessment teams were deployed by McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Monday to get a handle on how many homes were affected.

UPDATE: As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday a flood warning was in effect for the Fox River as the Algonquin Tailwater and the McHenry Lock and Dam, according to the National Weather Service in Chicago.

The latest stage measurement for the Algonquin Tailwater was at 12.53 feet, which is three feet above flood stage. The McHenry Lock and Dam was at 7.44 feet, nearly three and a half feet above flood stage.

Additional rainfall of between 0.5 and 0.75 inches is possible across the area this afternoon and evening.

The National Weather Service said that rainfall at this rate would slow the water rate on the Fox River, but anything more than 0.75 inches, or periods of intense rainfall, would result in renewed rises.

Drivers that encounter a flooded roadway are encouraged to turn around and find an alternative route, the NWS said.

Original Story: As area communities continue to aid residents affected by flooding, officials are preparing for the next step: repairing and cleaning up.

Six damage assessment teams were deployed by the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Monday to get a handle on how many homes were affected and how far the water came, said Director David Christensen.

The assessment would be used by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to request a presidential disaster declaration, he said. It could be a month before one is declared.

About 135 homes, most of them north of Route 120 and east of Route 31, met the Federal Emergency Management Agency's definition of flooded, Christensen said.

Many homes had water in their crawl spaces. Some had flooding on the first floor, he said. He heard of one house where a wall collapsed.

Residents in some communities, including Holiday Hills and Fox Lake, evacuated their homes. Even more spent last week and the weekend sandbagging in an effort to protect their property.

With rain in the forecast for Monday night and a possible thunderstorm Tuesday, water levels may remain high for the next couple days despite the Fox River cresting Monday, said Rita Lee, a hydraulic engineer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

If rainfall remains as expected  – around a half-inch to an inch for those two days, according to the National Weather Service – the river hopefully won't go up, Lee said.

Water levels for the river farther north, near New Munster, Wis., have already dropped a foot since cresting, but Lee warned it could be a couple weeks before things return to normal.

Predictions originally called for the river to crest Saturday evening, but water levels crept higher Sunday and into Monday, causing more problems for area residents.

The Fox River at the McHenry dam reached 7.48 feet at 5:45 p.m. Monday, higher than the record of 7.2 feet, set in 1986, according to the National Weather Service.

Farther downstream at Algonquin, the river hit 12.59 feet – more than 3 feet above the flood stage – around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

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