Floods threaten Fox River residents

Antioch As a result, hundreds of volunteers have been filling and then stacking sandbags on Thursday in the hopes of protecting their property.

Antioch residents are happy for any extra minute of sunshine they get which means the Fox River could hold steady and possibly even recede. Still, there have been three floods in the area since August and residents aren't taking any chances. They are preparing for what could be a record-breaking flood that can follow any significant rainfall.

"It's tiring. My back hurts a little more than yesterday," said resident John Schmidtke.

Schmidtke is taking a breather from the sandbagging operation in his driveway after filling 3,000 bags on Wednesday. Now it's a waiting game to see what the next storm will do to the Fox River which has flooded yards and some homes in an Antioch subdivision.

"We feel it's crested here right now," said Lee Shannon of Antioch Emergency Management.

Shannon and other emergency management officials from parts of Lake County have been keeping one eye on the Fox River in their communities and the other eye further north into Wisconsin where there are concerns that a dam could fail, causing that portion of the Fox River to overflow.

Officials told ABC7 during a weather conference call on Thursday the water level behind the dam has dropped over six inches already, a very good sign in itself.

The river hasn't quite reached the record flood levels of last August. That level is marked with a zip tie on the flagpole in Schmidtke's back yard. Residents say they hope officials can come up with a way to prevent the river from overflowing its banks. Until then, they say they will fight to protect their property.

"Between my brother and myself, my parents, my kids, my neighbors, my friends, we have decided to make the major effort to save the property that we love and enjoy," said Frank Schmidtke.

A Lake County official told ABC7 that there will be some discussions in the future with the Army Corps of Engineers about ways to prevent the Fox River from flooding. Such measures will take a lot of planning and money to fix the issue. In the meantime, residents are preparing for the worst which in their case means a couple of inches of rain.

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