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DeKalb County residents make the most of heavy flooding Monday as rain expected to continue

Residents make the most of ongoing flood waters due to heavy rainfall across DeKalb County

Paul Stover and his wife Alvina kayak around their flooded yard on West Elm Street in Cortland Monday. Rain over the weekend fell on already saturated ground causing water to flood fields, yards, and streets.
Paul Stover and his wife Alvina kayak around their flooded yard on West Elm Street in Cortland Monday. Rain over the weekend fell on already saturated ground causing water to flood fields, yards, and streets.

The Kishwaukee River continued to overflow Monday from heavy rainfall over the weekend, causing flood waters across DeKalb County and ongoing road closures.

Some are making the most of it, though.

After days of heavy rain, Paul Stover and his wife Alvina Stover of Cortland decided to take advantage of a bad situation - by kayaking in the almost three-foot deep flooding in their backyard.

“We tried fishing last night, but we didn’t get any bites,” Paul Stover, who lives on West Elm St. in Cortland, said. “This is definitely one of the worst cases of flooding we’ve seen.”

The National Weather Service predicts a 40% change of ongoing rainfall Monday night into Tuesday afternoon, with temperatures remaining in the 50s and 60s. Stover credits the flooding to a lack of drainage maintenance and the need to upgrade to a new drainage system.

“There’s debris from the neighboring farm fields floating in my backyard, including chemicals, fertilizer and corn stalks,” he said. “It’s been pretty bad before, but this is the third time in about 15 years it’s been as bad as this.”

Floods have been so significant, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office announced further road closures Monday, and drivers should use caution when navigating county roads.

According to a social media post by the sheriff's office, Route 64 (East State Street) in Sycamore is closed between Airport Road and Kingsway Drive near Sycamore Park as of 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Motorists are being advised to not to to drive around the barricades in the restricted area.

"The water is deep and the current is moving quickly and can easily carry a vehicle off the roadway," the post reads. "Turn around, don't drown."

The sheriff's office said they anticipate closing down North Main Street (Route 23) again between North Avenue and Mount Hunger Road near Sycamore Middle School, and Brickville Road from Maplewood Drive to Parker Street later Monday afternoon, since flood waters seem to be flowing northward.

DeKalb County Highway has reopened along Perry Road east of Somonauk, as has Somonauk Road south of Keslinger Road due to receded flood waters.

Franklin Township has also re-opened along Irene Road north of Illinois 72.

Water rescue

The DeKalb Fire Department was also out on the water Monday, as they took advantage of pooling water in the Dawn Court neighborhood, which frequently suffers from floods in the roadway, to initiate some water rescue practice.

"With the expected rain on top of what we already had, we felt like we needed to get the guys out and get some hands-on training on the boat," said Deputy Fire Chief Bart Gilmore. "It's not something we do everything, but we have some new guys to run through the process, how to set up the motor, drive the boat, get used to handling it."

Though it's not a frequent occurrence -- the last was in November when crews had to rescue a woman who's car had fallen into the icy Kishwaukee River near the Lincoln Highway bridge -- Gilmore said it's important firefighters keep up the knowledge in the event they'll need to rescue someone stuck in their car or on the road.

He said there's no such thing as 'overly-cautious' when it comes to safety.

"Don't drive in the water," he said. "Even if you think you know how deep it is, don't drive in it. Everybody sees stories during times like this where people think it was safe and then the next thing we know, they're washed away. Better to back up and drive away."

Flood clean-up kits available

The Salvation Army in DeKalb, 830 Grove St., is offering flood clean-up kits to residents in need, according to a news release.

Kits are available for those with water issues in their home related to recent flooding, and include: a mask, mop, brooms, garbage bags and other cleaning items packed into a bucket.

Kits are free of charge to pickup by appointment only, and those in need should call 815-761-6938 to do so.

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