A city situated an hour southwest of Chicago, is grappling with a citywide boil water advisory. Residents served by the City of Wilmington Water, encompassing Lakewood Shores, are urged to exercise caution by boiling water used for drinking and cooking purposes.
Officials have made clear that the decision to publish a boil water advisory is a precautionary measure due to the recent flooding along the Kankakee River.
The importance of the situation can be seen by the evacuation of parts of Wilmington, which was brought on by the sudden increase in river levels caused by the melting of ice jams earlier this week.
Flash flooding in downtown Wilmington has led to the implementation of immediate evacuation measures.
Simultaneously, authorities are addressing a related crisis in northeastern Illinois, where an ice jam break along the Kankakee River has led to significant flooding, threatening around 200 homes.
A flash flood warning remains in effect until mid-morning Saturday for Will and Grundy counties, particularly affecting Wilmington, located approximately 50 miles southwest of downtown Chicago.
The Kankakee River’s rise of about 3 feet (.91 meters) is attributed to the ice jam break, posing a threat to areas between Wilmington and Phelan Acres.
Evacuations and Structural Risks in Kankakee River Region
Concerns extend beyond flooding, as officials warn that remaining ice chunks could cause damage to structures as they flow downstream during the melting process.
In response to the emergency, Will County officials report that approximately 12 miles (19 kilometers) of the river are impacted by ice jams, necessitating urgent evacuations.
Alerts were disseminated to residents’ phones, advising them of rising water levels and the imperative need to evacuate.
The Will County Emergency Management Agency is actively coordinating evacuations in an area where about 200 homes along the Kankakee River are at risk.
Residents, such as Daniel Beck and Julie Schmitke, have faced the immediate impact of the crisis. Beck, one of 14 evacuees, described the flooding as “devastating all these homes,” while Schmitke, who had to be carried during evacuation due to having one leg, recounted the urgency of waiting for assistance amid the rising waters.
As the dual crises unfold, authorities continue to closely monitor the situation, providing updates and guidance to ensure the safety and well-being of affected communities.