CHICAGO (CBS) — The threat is over in Wilmington, where a melting ice jam led to flooding and evacuations.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez has the story from the Kankakee River.
The roads to Phelan Acres are now reopened and the homeowners forced to evacuate are now allowed to return. But emergency officials warned that melting ice can be unpredictable. With more headed down river, they are urging caution.
“This morning, the ice jam degraded to a point where it basically broke loose fairly quickly,” said Harold Damron Will County’s Emergency Director.
That spewed ice chunks to their homes. evacuations that took place and flooding neighborhoods along the Kankakee River in Wilmington.
“This could happen quickly. It could change quickly for the worse or for the better. So people always have to be on guard for that kind of change,” said Damron.
That’s why emergency crews from all over the area lined up ready to assist. More than 50 homes were evacuated. Brooke Fosnaugh, whose uncle owns a cabin downstream, has seen flooding in the area before.
“This is way worse than it was last time,” said Fosnaugh.
It actually flooded before the polar vortex turned into an ice rink. And now more ice has pushed ashore by the now rushing water.
“The police came banging on the door at 1:00 a.m. to say hey you might want to think about leaving,” said resident Scott Dwyer, who described the evacuation efforts last week.
“We just never saw it so much,” Dwyer said.
The warm, then cold, then warm temperatures have wreaked havoc. Emergency management officials are warning residence not to take any chances. The river rose nine feet since Tuesday before levels began dropping again.
With ice on the move, it could rise again.
People who have questions about flooding and need information on the status of their area can call 815-724-1617.