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St. Charles, Valley View areas brace for more rain

Fox River a no-recreational boating zone

High river levels are seen on the Fox River in downtown St. Charles.
High river levels are seen on the Fox River in downtown St. Charles.

A hazardous weather outlook continues this week for Kane County and north central Illinois, according to the National Weather Service.

Residents in the Valley View area of St. Charles Township impacted by flooding are hopeful that the stormwaters will continue to recede.

A portion of Tuscola Avenue in Valley View was still underwater July 21, with cars sloshing through the standing water, creating wakes in the front yards that face the St. Charles Park District’s Taley Park – which also was completely flooded.

Sandbags were still lined up on Preston Settipani’s front walk, while a small stick standing upright in the front yard marked where the floodwater stopped – just 20 feet from his house.

The bottoms of his front yard maple trees, closer to the street, as well as his driveway, were underwater.

“The last two floods, the water came up to the foundation,” Settipani said. “One was in 2013, and the other was way before.”

Apparently, the only thing to do was fill sandbags to stave off water coming into the house, he said.

“I don’t know what else they can do for you,” Settipani said.

Next door, Janice Browning’s front yard and driveway were underwater.

“Right now, we’re looking good,” Browning said. “At least it’s not in the house. It’s not in the garage. It’s still in the yard.”

St. Charles Township provided sand and bags for the neighborhood, and Browning credited the HELPS Ministry located in Valley View with helping her son and grandson get sandbags filled and situated at her house.

Hazardous weather warning

According to a hazardous weather warning from the National Weather Service’s Romeoville office, the area should brace for more flooding this week.

Warm, humid weather is expected to return July 26 ahead of a cold front, and that likely will trigger severe thunderstorms that could bring strong, damaging winds, large hail, heavy rainfall and localized flooding, according to the warning.

“It may not be all that widespread,” meteorologist Ricky Castro said. “We are not currently thinking of a severe potential like … that really bad storm that hit northeastern Kane County on [July 21]. Again, you can’t ever rule things out with thunderstorms, but it looks more like heavy rain.”

Flooding is expected to continue on rivers, and new levels are possible if the thunderstorms bring heavy rainfall, according to the warning.

“We are not having a week like last week,” Castro said. “Once the rain ends – and it will probably most likely end Thursday morning or early Thursday afternoon – then we are going to be set up for a really nice stretch of weather. It will be beautiful and have lower humidity, great for outdoor activities … through the weekend and probably including next Monday.”

St. Charles warns of flood hazards

Even with nicer weather expected, St. Charles city officials stated in a news release that dangerous conditions have resulted in areas where the Fox River overflowed its banks in various locations in the city. These areas are marked with signs and barricades.

“Currents have increased to powerful flows capable of carrying large debris downstream; pathways along the river in St. Charles have been engulfed by water,” the release stated. “No one should enter floodwaters, and should avoid submerged paths and other flood areas.”

The city closed the Illinois Street Bridge and the Indiana Street Pedestrian Bridge, but reopened them July 26 when river levels dropped, the release stated.

Traffic on the west side of the Illinois Street Bridge at First Street will still be able to access the Fox Island Square parking lot and the Susan L. Klinkhamer parking deck across the street, the release stated.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has designated the Fox River a no-recreational boating zone until further notice because of the flooding conditions, the release stated.

“While we understand that people are captivated by the power of the river and the resulting flooding, the river at this stage is extremely dangerous,” St. Charles Fire Chief Joe Schelstreet stated in the release. “Never enter floodwater, no matter how shallow it seems.”

In response to the flooding, Comcast has activated thousands of free wireless hotspots in Kane, Lake and McHenry counties for public use, a news release from the company stated.

The hotspots will be open across the area to anyone who needs them – including non-Comcast subscribers – until July 28, the release stated.

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