With flood water already covering some roads and creeping into some yards in northern Lake County, emergency management professionals hope rain forecast for this week takes a detour.
"We're watching with concern the forecast that calls for as much as four inches of rain Wednesday," through Friday, said C. Kent McKenzie, emergency management coordinator.
Flooding on Monday involved mainly roads and yards and in some cases crawl spaces or storage sheds, McKenzie said. It doesn't appear living spaces of house will be affected but, he added, another three or four inches would create problems.
"That is a tremendous amount of water that would have to go somewhere," he said.
River and lake levels are rising slowly and are not expected to fall for several days, McKenzie reported late Monday.
Residents along the Chain O' Lakes, and Des Plaines and Fox rivers should be ready to act, he said, because heavy rain could pose "more serious flood problems."
High water levels prompted the Fox Waterway Agency to enact a no-wake restriction throughout its entire system from the Wisconsin state line to the dam at Algonquin. That means watercraft are not permitted to travel at more that 5 mph, or fast enough to create a wake.
Boaters are urged to beware of floating debris, said Ron Barker, FWA executive director.
Officials are watching the forecast as crest heights on the Chain and Fox River have been higher than anticipated. The Chain, for example, is about a foot and a half above the normal "summer pool" level.
"There are some roads that have water across them and there are many yards that have water in them, pretty much all around the Chain," McKenzie said. "It's not major."
The Des Plaines River at Russell was at about 8 feet Monday morning, he added. Minor flood stage there is 7 feet and moderate flood stage is 9 feet. The Fox River at New Munster, Wis., had crested by late afternoon Monday and flows into Lake County were slowly falling, McKenzie reported.
With no significant additional rain, the Des Plaines is expected to drop below flood stage by Thursday, McKenzie said.
Communities along the Des Plaines are making sure they have enough sand bags and are double checking their contact lists. Gurnee officials Monday issued a flood advisory for residents and businesses in the Des Plaines River flood plain. In a news release, village officials said they didn't see an immediate need to leave the area but they have begun precautionary measures by securing supplies for sandbagging.
The village also has met with several agencies to coordinate plans and said it will communicate with residents and businesses via an automated telephone system.