The Fox River is expected to crest at 14 feet by 1 p.m. Saturday, a foot lower than initially forecast by the National Weather Service.
“That’s a big deal,” Salem Lakes Administrator Mike Murdock said. “Fourteen feet is unnerving, but 15 feet can be devastating.”
Murdock, who is also the village highway superintendent, said the highway department was busy Friday putting up road barricades and high-water signs.
It also delivered sand and bags to key locations in case residents need them over the weekend.
Riverside Drive north of Oak Street and Shorewood Drive south of 79th Street were closed Friday due to floodwaters.
South Riverside Drive, an area with no homes, is also impassable, Murdock said.
“I don’t know of any homes that have yet to be affected,” Murdock said.
Dump trucks delivered piles of sand and bags to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Oak Street, and the intersection of Shorewood Drive and 76th Street, for residents to use if need be.
Sandbags are also available at the Old Highway Department building at 123 N. Water St. in Silver Lake, Murdock said.
Images of the Fox River raging over the dam in Burlington, engulfing the fishing pier at Echo Park, had some Kenosha County residents concerned.
“If it’s that bad there, it’s always worse here,” a resident who lives near Shorewood Drive said.
By 4 p.m. Friday, the river had reached 13.35 feet in New Munster. According to the National Weather Service, floodwaters enter the lower levels of some homes along Riverside Drive and Shorewood Drive at 13.78 feet and there is a 20 percent chance of the river reaching this level in any given year.
Many homes that were affected during mild to moderate Fox River flooding events have been purchased through the Fox River Mitigation Program, initiated in 1994. Homes within the 100-year floodplain are demolished and turned into green space under the program.
“The flooding has to get fairly high now because so many homes have been purchased,” Andy Buehler, director of planning and development for the county, said.
For example, the flood in July 2017 would have affected more than 100 more homes had they not been purchased through the program, Buehler said.
It was announced at the Salem Lakes Village Board meeting earlier this week that the village’s new floodplain ordinance was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which makes homes in the merged territory eligible for the federal floodplain insurance program.
Buehler said federal grant money tied to the flood in 2017 could now become available to help purchase homes in Salem Lakes as a result.
For more information about the flood mitigation buyout program, call Kenosha County Housing Authority, 262-857-1843.