Ice jams damage property along the Kankakee River - FOX 32 News Chicago

Ice jams damage property along the Kankakee River

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"Warner Bridge (7000 W Rd) will be closed between IL Rt 113 and IL Rt 102 due to ice/water levels until further notice." (Kankakee Co Sheriff via @KankakeeSheriff) "Warner Bridge (7000 W Rd) will be closed between IL Rt 113 and IL Rt 102 due to ice/water levels until further notice." (Kankakee Co Sheriff via @KankakeeSheriff)
The Kankakee River on a normal day at Warner Bridge. (Glenda Farmer) The Kankakee River on a normal day at Warner Bridge. (Glenda Farmer)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Beautiful but dangerous ice jams line the Kankakee River exposing residents to potential flooding at a moment's notice.

"Well, I've never seen anything like this, it's literally dug up the ground. Usually it bust ups and floods and does all that but it looks like a bulldozer went through here and I think even a bulldozer would take a couple of hours to do this much damage," said Tim Reilly.

Will County Emergency Management Director Harold Damron is urging people living near the river to prepare for the worse-case scenario - an evacuation, just in case.

"I've been down here since '81. In '85 we had a really bad winter like this but I think this is worse actually. It looks like it's going to be a lot of destruction," said Reilly.

"In the winter time we can get ice formation all along the Kankakee River and as river conditions change we can get this ice break up, it flows downstream and can create ice jams and that, in turn, can create flooding concerns throughout this area," said Harold Damron, Director of Will County's Emergency Management.

For now, it's wait and see what mother nature brings.

Fox 32's Tisha Lewis reports more sub-freezing temperatures means more ice jams and warmer weather could create massive flooding.

"Our big issue here is that it's a situation that can change fairly quickly without much notice some times and most people are alert to that but we want to make sure they are," said Damron.

Nearly two hundred residents were reportedly evacuated Thursday. If temperatures rise rapidly there could be more. There is a Kankakee River flood update hotline in place. That number is 815-724-1617.

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