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Fox River receding, but more rain is on the way

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 1:48 p.m. CST
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The Fox River has crested and is now receding after the flooding that resulted from heavy rainfall that brought several inches of rain to the area last week.

Paul Schuch, director of Water Resources for Kane County, said the river height peaked at 12.5 feet in St. Charles and was expected to peak around 12.6 feet in Algonquin on Monday.

While more rain is expected to fall today, most water-covered roads in the county have reopened since Thursday’s weather. However, the Illinois Street bridge in St. Charles remains closed.

Mark Koenen, public works director for St. Charles, said the top of the bridge’s pier was still covered with water Monday and city officials are waiting for the water to recede more before reopening the bridge.

Koenen said it is the first time he can remember since 2008 that the bridge has been closed because of heavy rainfall.

He said last week’s rainfall pushed the Fox River to 3.99 feet above flood stage, which he said falls among the top flood elevations on record.

“So it’s a significant event we had this time around,” he said.

Many compared last week’s flooding to 2008. However, Alan Lins, owner of Mr. Handyman of Naperville and Geneva, said last week’s rainfall was “the worst one probably since 1996,” when some areas received as much as 17 inches of rain.

He said his company has been receiving lots of calls for water cleanup, sump pump and roof maintenance, and drywall and carpet removal.

He said damage from flooding has been extensive, but he said it mostly was contained to basements.

Don Bryant, of the Kane County Office of Emergency Management, said he noticed that many homeowners have taken steps in recent years to mitigate flooding by elevating their homes.

He noted that some areas in Geneva, Batavia and North Aurora that typically don’t get major flooding saw more flooding than usual last week.

Cindy Hiltenbrand, company manager for Kane County Mutual Insurance Company in Geneva, said that the office has been busy taking flood-related calls. She said last week’s flooding wasn’t as significant as the rainfall in 1996, but said people have submitted claims after last week’s flood.

“I think if we were to the east in DuPage [County] or Des Plaines, that might be different,” she said. “Right here, it has not been so bad.”

In North Aurora, Public Works Superintendent Mike Glock said city officials still are dealing with approximately 6.5 inches of rain that fell there.

He said almost everything is back to normal and noted that officials were prepared for the rain expected today.

“We’re going around, keeping an eye on things,” he said. “We did inspections of retention ponds, and we’re making sure intersections are clear.”

Bryant said the county still is waiting to hear about federal flood assistance and said there’s no timeline for when he expects to get information. He said Tuesday’s rain is “definitely on our radar.”

“We don’t expect a large increase in the river, but it may go up,” he said. “The river has crested, and it’s starting to go down now. It depends on how much rain we’re supposed to get.”

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