Governor tours Fox Valley to assess flood damage
By Kalyn Belsha firstname.lastname@example.org April 20, 2013 5:28PM
Gov. Pat Quinn visited North Aurora Saturday to inspect flood damage. | Kalyn Belsha~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 20, 2013 8:00PM
Gov. Pat Quinn stopped by the still-roaring Fox River in North Aurora Saturday after surveying flood damage throughout the Fox Valley region.
He stressed the importance of paying attention to flooded rivers, like the Fox, as they flow downstate, which could cause more flooding problems.
“You can see how powerful the current is,” Quinn said as he looked out onto the Fox River from a park trail where the day before water stood waist-high, according to North Aurora’s Village President Dale Berman.
Quinn said the Fox River is a “very important” waterway because it flows into the larger Illinois River. Quinn said rivers of concern right now for flooding include the Illinois, Rock, Mississippi and Des Plaines.
“We have to be very careful with flood water in our rivers,” he said. “Tributaries are swollen as well. Rivers like the Fox can be very dangerous.”
Quinn declared four more counties state disaster areas Saturday, bringing the count up to 42. Kane, Kendall, DuPage, DeKalb, Will and Cook counties all have been declared disaster areas, which is necessary to receive state resources and to begin the process of applying for possible federal aid.
Quinn said the state has 30 days to file a request for federal aid, and will be continuing to assess the damages during this time. He urged municipalities and residents to save receipts for damage and clean-up costs to help with the application process.
At the press conference, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Naperville) said getting reimbursed by the federal government would be a two-step process. Municipalities can be compensated for clean-up costs, like garbage pick-up, and individuals severely affected by the storm might be able to receive funds. Foster urged residents to contact their federal or state representative or visit ready.illinois.gov for more information.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said there were fewer impassable roads Saturday. There were 80 state road closures on Thursday, just over 50 on Friday and 33 by midday Saturday. She said 75 to 100 inspectors continue to monitor bridges in northeast Illinois, to check how they are doing with the extra stress from flood waters. She added that the state has distributed 225,000 sandbags and had a total of 3 million at their disposal.
Quinn will continue to tour the state over the next few days, with a focus on the downstate region where much of the flood water is flowing.
“It’s not over yet,” Quinn said. “We know we have an enormous challenge here. We just have to fight the flood with every fiber of our being.”