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updated: 4/18/2013 3:36 PM

Elgin flooding worst near Tyler, Poplar creeks

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  • Video: Flooding on the Fox River


Already two homes have been evacuated on Elgin's northwest side and more residents are expected to need alternative housing Thursday afternoon as rain remains in the forecast.

Elgin Police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said entire neighborhoods have not been evacuated but residents in some of the hardest-hit areas have been helped out.

The Elgin Fire Department evacuated two homes on Mark Avenue Thursday morning. The Public Services Department closed the Royal Street bridge and the intersection of Maroon and Varsity drives, and officials are recommending residents stay away from Willard Avenue and Eagle Road as well as the entire neighborhoods of Willow Lakes Estates, Old Oaks Estates and Villa Gardens Estates.

"Residents in all of the city's low-lying areas should be prepared to find emergency shelter, if necessary, and stay informed," said Karen Flanagan, Elgin's Office of Emergency Management coordinator.

Walton Island, near the Kimball Street Bridge, is almost entirely submerged. Raymond Street near Elgin's border with South Elgin was closed Thursday afternoon because of flooding, as was Willard Avenue. Many streets east of Sadler Avenue and north of Villa Street were also closed as well as streets near Illinois and Hammond avenues.

Tyler and Poplar creeks are more than two feet over normal levels with the water expected to rise as rain continues to fall.

Judson University, along Tyler Creek, is experiencing major flooding, though classes are still in session. All sidewalks and roads from the main part of campus to Volkman Hall are underwater, according to the university's website, with limited access to Creekside South, another university building. Two of the campus parking lots are closed.

Judson has a shuttle bus to transport residents of Volkman Hall to the rest of campus. Mary Dulabaum, Judson spokeswoman, said the administration has been sending out reminders to students not to try to walk from the residence halls to the main part of campus as the floodwaters are dangerous.

Elgin officials posted on the city's Facebook page that people should not underestimate the power of the water, which could be swift-moving, hiding dangerous objects or contaminated with chemicals or bacteria.

Many Elgin neighborhoods have been flood-prone for years -- an issue the city government is slowly working to fix through sewer separation projects expected to continue long into the future.

Michael Curtin, a resident on the near southwest side, said sewers on the street adjacent to his were replaced, keeping his home "free and clear," where it would have been flooded in a storm last year.

Crews are only halfway through a multiphase project that is still ongoing in the SWAN neighborhood, where Curtin lives.

"But even after the first phase was done, it took care of the vast majority of our problems," Curtin said.

The flooding, which is nowhere near Elgin's worst, is still affecting plenty of residents throughout the city. Theriault said police have handled about 200 calls concerning flooding issues today.

The city is providing free sandbags to residents to help block water from their homes. They are lined up outside the Public Works Facility at 1900 Holmes Road and available for pick up, but city employees will not be available to assist with loading.

Theriault said the city has 1,200 bags ready, which should be plenty to assist residents through the worst of this storm.

Elgin residents with concerns about flooding should call the police department at (847) 289-2700. Officials will be updating as well as communicating through social media.

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