DeKALB – Mike Thompson was in a race against time – and water – Thursday morning.
Thompson, an employee with Mason Properties, was helping first-floor tenants of the Ashbury Court East complex on Taylor Street move their belongings out through windows and into trucks before water reached the building. While Thompson was packing belongings, other volunteers were placing sandbags around the windows to make sure the water would not pour in through the ground-level windows if the water were to reach the complex.
"This is the first time we've had to do this," Thompson said of the move. "We're moving everyone out for precautionary reasons."
First-floor residents at the complex are going to temporarily reside in open units at other Mason Properties locations.
The residents were some of many throughout the county struggling with the effects of heavy overnight rainfall on Thursday, with many encountering flooded basements and standing water on local roads. The rains subsided in DeKalb County by mid-morning, although standing water and flooding problems remained in places.
The forecast calls for more thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, according to AccuWeather.com.
Residents and authorities throughout the county were struggling with the effects of heavy overnight rainfall on Thursday, with many encountering flooded basements and standing water on local roads.
DeKalb is under a flood warning from 11:30 p.m. Thursday until 8:30 p.m. Friday. It's also under a flash flood warning until noon Thursday.
Gov. Pat Quinn has issued an emergency declaration following the flooding and severe weather affecting areas across Illinois.
Quinn issued the declaration Thursday. The action will allow the state to access federal resources including generators, pump systems sandbags and additional funds. The declaration is a step below a disaster emergency declaration.
Quinn says the American Red Cross has opened two shelters in north central Illinois. One is in Oglesby and another in Roanoke.
DeKalb street chief Mark Espy said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projecting the Kishwaukee River to reach its highest point of 11 feet, 2 inches Friday morning.
"If it crests where NOAA tells us, it will be on the south side of town," Espy said.
River Heights Golf Course and Taylor Street will experience flooding, but DeKalb's north side typically doesn't experience flooding until the river level exceeds 12 feet. The DeKalb Sanitary District has at least 15 water pumps deployed in the city in order to stop flooding in people's homes.
About 1,200 households in DeKalb Township and south DeKalb were without power between 6 and 7:30 a.m., but by 9:30 a.m., only 31 households countywide were without power, ComEd spokesman Paul Callighan said.
"We expect we'll make repairs to customers and have intermittent outages throughout the day," Callighan said.
To report a power outage, call 800-334-7661, log on to www.ComEd.com or download the ComEd app for your smartphone. Officials recommend having your account number before you call.
Phones were not working Thursday morning at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center and St. Mary School in DeKalb.
The DeKalb Police Department Thursday morning said that the 100 block of Pooler and parts of Enclave Boulevard, Grand Drive, and Cambria Drive should be avoided because of flooding. Anyone needing sandbags to protect against rising waters can get them at the City of DeKalb Streets Department at 1316 Market St., DeKalb Police said.
Sycamore Public Works Director Fred Busse encouraged residents to check catch basins and inlets to ensure leaves and other debris are cleared out because material can easily build up over the drainage systems and cause localized street flooding.
At the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park in Sycamore, resident Robert Schmidt was neighborhood. The water in his driveway was knee-deep, he said.
"We woke up at 6 a.m. and the driveway was clear," said Schmidt, who lives near the Kishwaukee. "It's been coming up almost an inch every half-hour."
Schmidt had not lost anything of value, but said he had unplugged his family's computers and TVs. His family typically stays in a hotel when the area floods.
The Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park was evacuated at 2 p.m. Thursday, with the electricity turned off throughout the park. Residents were told to take all medications with them, as they would not be allowed back into the park until the evacuation period was over. The American Red Cross opened a shelter at John Lutheran Church, 26555 Brickville Road in Sycamore for those unable to stay with family or friends.
Flooding at the nearby Sycamore Golf Course led Sycamore Park District officials to close their administration building, effective at 10 a.m. Thursday. They will still be taking calls at their community center at 815-895-3202.
"We've got the lower spots sandbagged and the furniture in the lower rooms completely off the ground or up on blocks, so if it does start to seep in, we should be OK," park district Executive Director Dan Gibble said.
Gibble said gates into the park would be closed Thursday, and although the park offices could be open again by Monday, it would be longer before the golf course reopened.
Genoa Mayor Todd Walker was returning to the city from Springfield on Thursday morning.
He said that it appeared that drainage projects the city had undertaken in recent years were helping with the water, particularly in the area around Hill Street.
Walker said residents should call city hall at 815-784-2327 if they are experiencing problems that the concern the city.
“If there’s drains that are plugged, if there’s water coming out of storm sewers or sanitary sewers, I’d rather know about it than not,” Walker said. “ … People just need to understand in any community, you've got this deluge of water and it’s not something that any system can't keep up with and you've just got to do what you can.”
County, state roads
DeKalb County officials identified four county roads with water on pavement: Shabbona Road, north of Lee Road; East County Line Road, south of Route 64; Suydam Road, west of Leland Road; and Chicago Road, west of Route 23.
County crews were monitoring the roads for rising waters and other public safety hazards, Schwartz said.
In southern DeKalb County, part of Route 23 was closed because of flooding at the railroad underpass just north of Route 34, west of Somonauk.
NIU staff meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste tweeted Thursday morning that as of 7 a.m., the rainfall total had reached 4.01 inches, with another 1 to 2 inches of rain likely Thursday. A weather station in DeKalb measured 1.35 inches of rain Wednesday evening, with 1 to 3 inches of rain expected overnight and this morning, National Weather Service senior meteorologist Gino Izzi said.