ALGONQUIN – A tire swing slowly swung Thursday above rushing flood waters in Fred Prokop's backyard.
The Algonquin resident, who has lived in his LaFox River Drive home for 43 years, said he has never seen anything like this.
“Right now we're just trying to maintain the level in the garage, which is about 2 inches,” Prokop said. “At one point it was about a foot. And I was not able to get my car out of there.”
“I don't know. We'll have to raise the doors and find out,” he said.
Prokop's story is not much different than many McHenry County residents affected by last week's heavy rain. The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association said Monday that 362 McHenry County residences have water touching their house, and 103 residences have property damage, according to preliminary damage assessments.
But the worst part is yet to come, Prokop said.
“Nobody realizes the cleanup and the mess that you have to go through after the flood,” he said. “It's one thing going through the flood, and it seems like we survived that pretty good.
"But it's another thing as far as the cleanup," he said. "We have thousands of sandbags that we have to get rid of.”
Prokop said it will likely take a month and a half to clean up his property, but he noted he could not have gotten through the initial rush of stormwater without the help of his neighbors.
“We have some tremendous neighbors that helped us out,” he said.
“For all the destruction and aggravation it causes, the bright side is that it pulls the neighborhood together and people help each other out,” said Dan Clarton, who lives across the street from Prokop and got 5 inches of water in his basement.
“It creates a sense of community. It's a block party minus the bonfire, the beer and the cookout,” he said.
Living across from the river, Clarton got most of his water damage from the saturation of the ground. He didn't lose much because he made sure to move items into plastic tubs.
“Like most things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," he said.
Fellow LaFox River Drive neighbor Tom Green also took some preventative measures to clear out his basement, as he saw ankle-deep water seep inside.
"It's the highest it's ever been,” he said. “But I cleaned up the night before. I didn't lose anything.”
But because of how the river bends around the neighborhood, and depending on how high homes are built, some houses on LaFox River Drive saw no damage at all.
“We're high enough up I guess,” said Aubree Abernethy, who's home saw just a touch of water leak into her backyard. “If you look down the river … it's pretty bad for some people. We lucked out.”
But down the river at Prokop's home, the hard work has only just begun.
“Normally we would be landscaping and starting to plant flowers right about now,” he said. “Now we're dealing with removing sandbags and getting the grass back up to grow.”