Storms surging throughout Fox Valley
By Dave Gathman firstname.lastname@example.org April 17, 2013 3:51PM
Tips from Kane County Emergency Management Director Don Bryant about what to do during a flash flood watch:
Be aware of flash flood areas such as canals, streams, drainage channels and underpasses.
If confronted by flood waters, seek higher ground.
Be ready to evacuate with your “Go Bag” of emergency supplies.
If time allows, move essential items to upper floors.
Avoid electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
If you must leave your home, do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
Do not try to drive over a flooded road. Fast-moving flood waters can wash away you and your car.
If you experience flooding in your area and need assistance, call 911 immediately.
Updated: May 19, 2013 7:42AM
Heavy rains, damaging hail and wind swept through the area Wednesday afternoon. But the real worry on many people’s minds was what is going to happen to all the water that has been falling on the Fox Valley in the past two weeks, crescendoing up to what is predicted to be at least 4 more inches by the time this storm front passes by on Friday.
As temperatures dropped from the 40s into the high 30s on Wednesday, a cold front brought sporadic, torrential downpours that made it hard to see when driving. Along with the rains came at least three bursts of hail, with the strongest about the size of dimes or large peas.
A motorist who was trying to make his way along Randall Road near I-90 in Elgin said in a phone interview just before noon that heavy rain and intermittent hail had been falling for almost half an hour. It was the first strong wave of what was supposed to be a prolonged series of storms in the afternoon and evening.
“It sounds like someone beating on my car with a hammer,” the East Dundee man said.
In its aftermath, the already-swollen Fox River had gone out of its banks in West Dundee to cover three low-lying portions of the village’s brick-paved riverwalk.
With up to 4 inches of rain predicted Wednesday afternoon and overnight, the weather service issued a flash flood watch and a river flood watch from 5 p.m. Wednesday until Friday morning for Kane and Cook counties.
Fox Valley officials were warily eyeing the level of the Fox River and local creeks. But no residential or commercial flooding had been reported by early Wednesday evening.
“The river is above flood stage, but we don’t have any particular issues yet,” said Don Bryant, Kane County’s director of emergency management.
However, “heavy rainfall is expected over the Fox River region during the next 36 hours that will result in a significant rise on the Fox River and could cause potential flash flooding,” Bryant said in a press release late Wednesday afternoon.
In Algonquin, village officials reported minor flooding and encouraged residents in low-lying areas to sandbag around their properties.
“With current National Weather Service predictions of additional rainfall this week, the village has issued notice to the residents in the floodplain that a flood with the potential to damage property is likely and that sandbagging is encouraged in advance of this flooding event,” an Algonquin press release said late Wednesday afternoon. “Sandbags will be available for residents beginning at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at the Algonquin Wastewater Treatment Facility located at 125 Wilbrandt St.
“At this time,” the Algonquin release stated, “the village does not see an immediate need to leave the area but is continuing to take precautionary measures.” It said residents can get more information at www.algonquin.org.
In South Elgin, which was one of the areas hardest hit by flooding in 2007 and 2008, Village Administrator Larry Jones said late Wednesday afternoon that “no one has reported any issues so far” but sand and sandbags will be available at the South Elgin Public Works Department if anyone needs them. Anyone in need should call the village hall during business hours, at 847-742-5780, or call 911 overnight.
Jones noted that some low-lying South Elgin houses that were flooded out in the village’s worst siege, in August 2007, have since been bought up with the help of a county program or torn down to be replaced by open space.
Heavy rain, gusty winds, hail, thunderstorms and flooding all could be in store for the Chicago area over the next couple days as a strong spring storm moves through the area, according to the National Weather Service.
By the time the skies clear, the rainfall total for the Chicago area could reach 4 inches, a weather service meteorologist said Wednesday morning.
In addition to the flood watch, the weather service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the area until 5 p.m. Wednesday. Additional small hail and heavy rainfall were expected late Wednesday afternoon, and more showers and thunderstorms, along with gusty winds, as well as hail and heavy rainfall were predicted for Wednesday night. This was expected to continue late into the night and then into Thursday. High winds, showers, small hail, and thunderstorms were also on the menu for Thursday, according to the weather service.
Temperatures were predicted to climb Thursday, with highs expected to be in the lower 70s. South winds were expected to be 15 to 25 mph in the morning, increasing to 20 to 30 mph by early afternoon, according to the weather service. Gusts of up to 40 mph also may be possible.
The showers and storms were expected to continue into Thursday night, with showers combined with thunderstorms likely in the evening, then showers likely after midnight. Low temperatures will dip to around 40 degrees, with wind gusts up to 35 mph, the weather service said.