Water levels on the Kankakee River in Will County are dropping following flooding in the area. The Will County Emergency Management Agency is reporting a significant reduction in water levels on the river as most ice jams have cleared between the City of Wilmington and the Des Plaines River confluence. As a result, The Flash Flood and Flood Warnings issued by the National Weather Service have expired. The Will County EMA is partnering with local officials to fully assess local flood damage.
The Will County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is reporting a significant reduction in water levels on the Kankakee River, as most ice jams have cleared between the City of Wilmington and the Des Plaines River confluence. Following the expiration of a Flash Flood Warning for the area, Will County EMA is partnering with local officials to fully assess local flood damage.
“With water levels continuing to decrease, local agencies will be working to assess damage to property and infrastructure,” said Will County EMA Director Allison Anderson. “Minor flooding might still occur over the next week due to ice that remains along the river and on many properties. We’re asking residents to remain cautious as they assess the damage from the last week.”
The Flash Flood and Flood Warnings issued by the National Weather Service have expired due to the rapidly decreasing water levels on the river. Water levels were recorded at 5.7 feet at 10:45 AM on Sunday, January 28. The water levels reached a record high of 15.62 feet on Friday evening due to a brief ice jam that formed near I-55. The peak level of water was the 3rd highest level recorded on the Kankakee River in history and the highest since 1887.
“I am thankful to everyone in the community that came together over the last two weeks,” said Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. “Strong partnerships between all our local agencies helped to minimize the damage from flooding. I appreciate the hard work of the first responders, emergency management staff, and local officials during this challenging time.
All major roads have been reopened in the City of Wilmington and unincorporated Will County. The North and South Island parks in the City of Wilmington remain closed due to flooding. Out of an abundance of caution, the City of Wilmington has issued a Boil Order for all persons serviced by the City’s water service. Any water used for drinking or cooking should be boiled for five minutes before use.
“City staff have been working around the clock to ensure the safety of residents during this flood event,” said Wilmington Mayor Ben Dietz. “I appreciate everyone who stepped up to keep residents safe during this flooding event. Our work isn’t finished yet. We are working to fully assess and repair the damage that occurred over the last few days.”
Several agencies are working to assess damage to property and public infrastructure. To support these efforts, Will County EMA has launched a public reporting survey for residents and businesses to begin reporting any damages they may have sustained. These reports will support the efforts of damage assessment teams who are visually inspecting damage to personal property, businesses, and public infrastructure.
The residential and business damage assessment surveys can be found at: https://www.willcountyema.org/flood.