Gov. Bruce Rauner visited McHenry County Sunday after declaring it a disaster area, and residents along the Fox River continued to protect their homes from flooding throughout the weekend.
Five days after Janet and Doug McAllister moved their belongings into their dream getaway home on the Fox River, they had to remove everything again and start battening down the hatches.
The Fox River is expected to reach record high levels, and it already has caused major flooding throughout Lake and McHenry counties. The state of Illinois has declared disaster areas in Lake, McHenry, Kane and parts of Cook counties as a result of the existing flooding and expected increase.
The McAllisters’ home had not been damaged by the water as of Sunday afternoon, thanks to about 600 sandbags and six water pumps they had to control flooding around the house.
“The pumps are what will make the difference,” Janet McAllister said. “We knew flooding was possible, but the 2013 flood was called a 100-year flood, and this one is going to be worse than that. … This is unheard of.”
Neighbor Kris Matteson echoed McAllister’s sentiments. Her house sits on a foundation and had not been damaged Sunday, although the grass lot across the street was more than a foot underwater.
“I have been here 16 years, and it’s never been this bad,” Matteson said. “This is terrible.”
Gov. Bruce Rauner came to McHenry County to see the damage Sunday. State personnel are standing by if municipalities request help in the coming days, he said.
“The flooding can be significant, and we may be calling for evacuations,” he said. “We ask all residents to not drive or walk in flood areas. … It can be very dangerous.”