Flood warning along area rivers

January 9, 2008 4:48:35 PM PST
Floodwaters continue to rise in several small towns settled along rivers in the Chicagoland area. Melting snow mixed with heavy rains led several rivers to swell up over their banks. The Kankakee River flooded parts of downtown Wilmington, Ill., which is north of Kankakee.

The Kankakee River is at about 8 feet as of Wednesday evening, which is about two feet above flood stage. Even though the water has started to recede, tributaries could feed into it, causing the crest to rise again in the next few days. Already the waters cover Wilmington Island Park.

"A combination of snow melt. We had anywhere from one to three inches of snow on the ground at the observation point prior to the rainfall. And the water under that snow is one to two inches. So we have that on top of the additional rainfall of three to six inches caused by significant runoff into the area rivers," said Bill Morse, National Weather Service.

Parts of downtown Wilmington are also flooded. Route 102 is impassable.

"We should be dealing with 20 inches of snow and not six inches of rain. But we can stand the water," said one motorist.

A flood warning remains in effect for the Kankakee, Iroquois and Vermillion rivers, which are expected to reach their crests next week. The Iroquois River is expected to hit 27 feet on Thursday, which is 10 feet above flood stage.