Weather Updates

Neighbors helping neighbors as cleanup continues in Chain O’Lakes area

Reporting flooding issues

The Lake County Emergency Management Agency said if your property has been impacted by the recent floods, you need to report it to your local government agency, as follows:

If you live in a municipality, contact your village. Contact information is available at

If you live in an unincorporated area or a township, contact the Lake County Planning Building and Development Department at (847) 377-2081.

Lake County is working with the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County, municipal officials and waste-haulers to define a consistent strategy for the collection and disposal of flood-contaminated debris, including used sandbags and flood-soaked personal property. More information is expected to be available in the next few days.

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Updated: May 24, 2013 6:19AM

People in hard hit areas of the Chain O’Lakes, like the Knollwood Park subdivision near Fox Lake, have been depending on neighborly kindness to help out while they wait for the water to crest so they can begin clean-ups.

“I’m the taxi driver,” said Dan Suchowski, who works for the village of Round Lake Park, as he pulled up a small jon boat to the corner of Knollwood and Spring Road. He was coming to pick up his mother-in-law and father-in-law to take them back into the neighborhood. “We are on the knoll of Knollwood,” he said, explaining their log cabin homes across from each other have not had water damage because they are high enough.

“It’s really bad out there. I’m just trying to help my neighbors out, help them in and out with my boat,” he said. “A lot of the homes have flooded,” he said of the approximately 100 homes in the neighborhood. “The one neighbor has four feet of water in his house. We sandbagged but then we gave up,” he said. “There’s not much you can do,” he said.

His father-in-law, Mike Frer, 62, said that because they have the only dry land around, all the neighborhood dogs are coming to his place to go to the bathroom. “Then I saw all these mice coming up. They don’t want to drown like anyone else. But we never had mice problems here,” he said. The Frers had gone out to get medication and some food and now Suchowski was taking them back.

Amy and Derek Williams also don’t have water in their house because they have a flow-through crawlspace so the water just rises underneath. But their garage is another story. “We’re just trying to keep the water out of the garage,” she said. “So far, so good. We are safe,” she said.

Sean Keating, 30, and his fiancee are staying in a hotel after their home took in a couple of feet of water. He was putting on his waders to go and get some pictures and survey the damage. “This guy on the corner has lived here the longest and he’s flooded 14 times, but never like this,” he said.

“It came so fast, I think it was on Thursday it was rising four inches an hour,” said Keating. He said Fox Towing gave discounts to get people’s vehicles out of the neighborhood and then Ed’s Automotive on Route 59 across the street from the neighborhood let residents use his lot to park.

“They were real helpful,” he said of the businesses.

Michael Koehler, 57, of Lake Zurich owns the Koehler Chiropractic Center at the entrance of the subdivision. “I’ve been OK, not like a lot of these people in the neighborhood,” he said. He has had small boats parking in part of his parking lot. “You know everyone was worried about the water table (they are all on wells), but I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about that now,” he said.

Accuweather says the rains last week dumped 3 to 7 inches of rain onto already saturated ground during a 24 to 36 hour period that resulted in flash flooding in areas because the water had nowhere to drain.

According to the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission, the Chain O’Lakes appears to be cresting Monday afternoon, April 22, but the tributaries remain full or nearly full, and there is limited capacity for additional stormwater runoff. The forecast calls for one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday. It is not expected to significantly impact river levels, although it will cause the rivers to recede more slowly.

Nancy Schuerr, Fox Lake village administrator, said Tuesday night the village will be declared a disaster area. “It’s already written up,” she said. What made this year so bad was the lakes area also had Nippersink Creek bringing in larger volumes of water than usual and the Fox River.

“It just can’t go anywhere,” she said.

The Des Plaines River has crested and Route 41 is now completely open, but Grand Avenue from O’Plaine Road to Route 21 is still closed, but the water is receding at a good pace. The river will remain at moderate flood stage levels until Tuesday or Wednesday. Des Plaines River at Lincolnshire saw major flood levels causing structural damage and evacuations and it will take some time for the water to go down there.

The Lake County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) continues to coordinate with municipalities and townships to compile damage assessment information, and EMA will work with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on potential assistance. It is too soon to determine if state or federal assistance will become available.

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