Cleanup begins along the Fox River

Water levels remain above flood stage

Floodwaters from the Fox River flow past the McHenry Lock and Dam (left) and into Moraine Hills State Park. West Russet Road can be seen at the far right.
Floodwaters from the Fox River flow past the McHenry Lock and Dam (left) and into Moraine Hills State Park. West Russet Road can be seen at the far right.

As rain steadily fell throughout the area Tuesday, officials focused their attention on the recovery effort following days of flooding that forced people from their homes and caused untold property damage along the Fox River.

The rainfall partly caused the National Weather Service to issue a flood warning in the morning for the Fox River at Algonquin, but the McHenry County area ultimately saw about a third of an inch of rain.

Barring additional rainfall, Tuesday’s rain will merely slow the pace floodwaters in the area recede from the Fox River, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Gino Izzi. The forecast for the week does not include additional rain.

“We should see rain end [Tuesday] evening. We are not looking at significant amounts,” Izzi said. “The river levels will be on the decline, but they are expected to remain above flood stage.”

The flood warning will remain in effect for the week, since the torrential rain last week raised the Fox River in communities such as Algonquin and McHenry to historic levels.

In Algonquin, water levels were reported at 12.63 feet Tuesday evening, more than three feet above flood stage. By tomorrow evening, the river should fall back to 12.5 feet, the National Weather Service reported.

At the McHenry dam, water levels remained three-and-a-half feet above flood stage at 7.46 feet Tuesday evening. The total was down from a highpoint of 7.49 feet Monday evening.

While Fox River levels slowly diminish, emergency responders and county officials started assessing property damage and coordinating cleanup efforts.

David Christensen, director of the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency, said that between 135 and 150 homes along the river met federal disaster standards.

The agency completed its preliminary assessment damage report Tuesday and will forward the information to the state, which will apply for federal disaster assistance for the 44 counties affected by the recent flooding, he said.

“In the county, life goes on and we will start the process of cleaning up,” Christensen said.

The flooding caused some residents, including ones in Holiday Hills and Fox Lake, to evacuate their homes. Others spent their weekend fortifying their homes with sandbags, while some saw water reach into crawl spaces.

The Salvation Army of McHenry County reported that it has served hundreds with meals, snacks and beverages who have either been affected by the flooding or have helped the flood victims.

County Chairwoman Tina Hall scheduled a special emergency meeting for Friday morning to have the County Board discuss waiving building permit fees for the area’s flood victims.

Teams from Illinois Emergency Services Management Association will also start cataloging property damage around the county, including areas like Spring Grove, Richmond, Johnsburg and McHenry Township.

Christensen’s department will begin preparing for the future and studying what areas along the river were most damaged by the floodwaters.

“It helps focus our response for the next time,” Christensen said.

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