Des Plaines, Fox rivers could reach record flood levels by Saturday

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Lake County declared itself a disaster area with the Des Plaines and Fox Rivers expected to crest above major flood level on Saturday.

County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor signed the disaster proclamation after many communities have experiencing localized flooding that has compromised roadways and other public works infrastructure after uo to 7 inches of rain fell in some areas Tuesday night.

Runoff from the rain is expcted to cause record-breaking flooding in areas along both rivers in the north suburbs, and a flood warning remains in effect until early next week along the Des Plaines River in Gurnee, Lincolnshire, Des Plaines, River Forest and Russell, according to the National Weather Service.

As of Thursday morning, that river was at 18.6 feet in Des Plaines and was expected to continue rising to 21 feet over the next 7 days, according to the weather service. The record was set on April 19, 2013, at 20.9 feet.

Along the Fox River, a flood warning remains in effect “until further notice” in Algonquin and Montgomery, the weather service reports. The river reached 10.35 feet in Algonquin Thursday morning, and was projected to get up to 13.5 feet by Tuesday morning. The record for the Fox in that area was 12.7 feet, set on April 23, 2013.

The rivers will generally continue to rise as drains from smaller tributaries into the larger main stem rivers. The weather service warned people to avoid walking or driving through floodwaters, and to move immediately to higher ground.

As of Thursday, River Road was closed from Minor to Algonquin in Des Plaines due to standing water. Flooding in Grayslake caused closures on Route 83 between Center and Route 120; on Washington between Route 45 and Route 83; on Buckley between Route 83 and Casey; on Atkinson between Route 120 and Center; and on Route 120 between Porter and Route 134, according to Grayslake police.

Additionally, West Park Avenue was closed east of Route 41 in Highland Park because of standing water, the Lake County Department of Transportation reported. In Gurnee, Grand was closed Thursday morning between Riverside and Skokie Highway.

The village of Libertyville declared a state of emergency after standing water closed several roads in Libertyville, including parts of U.S. 45 and Buckley Road.

Floodwaters washed out a large culvert and caused a huge sinkhole on a road Wednesday in north suburban Gages Lake. Gages Lake Road is closed between Route 2 and Hunt Club Road, according to the transportation division.

Maintenance crews realized the culvert was in distress and closed the road prior to the culvert collapsing, and it will remain closed until the culvert is replaced and pavement repairs completed. No time estimate was given for that work. Traffic is being detoured from Hunt Club Road to Route 120, and then to Route 21.

The good news? Meteorologists predict the area won’t see more rain until the weekend.

“We’re done, we’re going to be dry for the next couple of days,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Kevin Birk said Thursday, adding that the next chance of thunderstorms isn’t until Saturday night, when there’s a 40 percent chance of showers.

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