Ice jam causes Fox River to rise in East Dundee

January 4, 2010 4:46:27 PM PST
The frigid weather is causing flooding problems for some people along the Fox River. An ice jam has caused the river to rise near East Dundee and some residents have evacuated their homes.

Residents along the Fox River in the East Dundee area say that they can get flooding any time of the year. On Monday the water got so high many needed help getting out of their homes.

The water and ice surrounded several homes, looking beautiful and serene but in fact it is very dangerous for residents like 92-year-old Harvey Linder who saw the water rising on Saturday and evacuated on his own, before it was too late.

"I could see it coming Saturday. I could see the river was coming out. I was watching it there," said Linder.

On Monday morning the water was several feet deep, enclosing many of the homes and making the road treacherous if not impassable for many vehicles. Fire department crews helped some of the residents get out.

"By Saturday afternoon we were trapped. And yesterday I got my wife and daughter out. They could still walk out. My other son could walk out. But my other son and I were trapped," said Greg Slovacek, evacuee.

The reason for the floodwater, according to some long time residents, is the Stratton Dam, north of East Dundee, controlling water levels in this chain of lakes. Occasionally when the dam releases water it leads to flooding. In this case, officials say it is because of a huge block of ice that backed the water up down river in Elgin and into East Dundee yards.

"What they do is hold the water up when the lake starts to freeze. There's going to be damage on the docks and things like that. They open up the dam and let it go. And by that time we have ice in the river. The water can't go through and we flood," said Peter Rosendale, resident.

Rosendale's property is on a higher ground. He hasn't had to evacuate.

Evacuation is voluntary. There is no mandate involved.

There are about 20 homes in the area. Many residents have lived there for years and say they are familiar with flooding.