Kankakee River ice jam causes floodwaters to surround homes in Wilmington

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Kankakee River ice jam causes flooding in Will County
A Kankakee River ice jam caused some Wilmington, IL flooding on Phillips Road on Monday. A Flood Warning has been issued for the river this week.

WILMINGTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Our coverage of this story has moved here.

Chunks of ice built up along the Kankakee River banks in Wilmington on Monday night, giving rise to flood waters and concerns for neighbors.

"About a foot off of this pipe right here is our seawall, so then the water is usually about 2 feet below that," said Chris Krall.

Instead, the waters levels behind Chris and Jenelle Krall's Phelen Acres home are higher than normal.

The river has been flowing at a slower pace as sheets of ice crack under the ice cold grip of arctic temperatures.

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"We're just hoping the jam doesn't get as bad as it was, like last year, was pretty bad but, I mean, the volume of water that's being held up, like upstream in that could be pretty devastating down here," Chris said.

A Flood Warning was issued for the area until next Monday. But already, flood waters have surrounded homes and vehicles along Phillips Road as river waters continue to flow beneath the ice.

"Right down the street in our neighborhood, all the channels are flooded to the top," Jenelle said.

Bob Heintz's backyard chairs are covered in ice and feet away from possible flood waters.

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"A couple days ago, it was nice, and it started sheeting up," Bob said. "When it sheets up, it starts blocking up, and it jams up."

Bob said an ice jam like this happens about once a year, but the concern is what happens next.

"The kid tried getting out last night, but they were already frozen. We waited a little too long," Bob said. "If it blocks up and the water comes back up, it comes up. Nothing really, nothing you can do about it. It's the price you pay for living on the river."

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