CHICAGO (CBS) — People in the northern suburbs were watching the Fox River, which was cresting on Tuesday, six days after flooding began; but that doesn’t mean the water will disappear right away.
Residents in Fox Lake have been hit hard by significant flooding after last week’s storms. More than 500 homes have been damaged in the flood, and that number is expected to rise as the river crests on Tuesday.
Sonja Cooprider’s home has become an island of sorts; surrounded by floodwaters from the swollen Chain O’ Lakes.
“It’s even on our dock. You can’t even come on our dock, because it’s covered in water,” she said.
To make matters worse, it’s filled with guests; 10 relatives arrived from out of state just before the storms that caused one of the worst floods in the village’s 110-year history. That means children who normally would be playing in and around the lake have been forced to stay inside for nearly a week.
“I’ve been very prayerful, and I have lived my life on the adage you’ve got to deal with what you have,” Cooprider said.
Meantime, fellow Fox Lake resident Kathy Caulfield has avoided any serious damage thanks to a lot of sweat Equity and luck. Thanks to a wall of sandbags, so far she’s dealing only with a bit of foul water in her crawl space, and some waterfowl in her back yard. Several ducks have taken up residence in the water-logged yard.
In some areas where there were roads just days ago, there are canals now only navigable by boat, but don’t go thinking the massive influx of water is good for the boating business.
At 5-Star Boat Center, they’re losing business, because the lakes and rivers have been closed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They don’t expect customers to return for weeks.
At Fox Lake marinas, the concern is boats could be damaged by rising floodwaters.
In nearby Round Lake Beach, the water has done hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage at W.J. Murphy Elementary School, after it seeped into classrooms, and damaged computers, instruments, books, and other important school supplies.
Although the next school year doesn’t start for another month, officials might have to find an alternative location in case the damage can’t be repaired in time.
“We’re looking at whether or not we may have to move the 500-plus students to our other schools; disperse them around the district. Our neighbors have volunteered to assist us if we need classrooms there,” said Round Lake Area School Supt. Dr. Constance Collins.
According to the National Weather Service, while floodwaters on the Fox River should begin receding on Tuesday, it could be another week or longer before the river is back to normal levels.