Hultgren Urges FEMA to Assess Flood Damage in Northern Illinois
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Long urging him to assist local efforts to conduct damage assessments following severe flooding in northern Illinois. These assessments will help determine how much federal assistance might be available for individuals and small businesses affected by the flooding. Rep. Hultgren has visited the affected areas and worked with local and state officials to make sure everyone is safe and mitigate flood damage. Following is the letter:
Dear Mr. Long:
This week, Governor Rauner submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency requesting assistance in conducting damage assessments where flooding has occurred in northern Illinois. Last month, Lake, McHenry, Kane, and Cook counties suffered from severe flooding that has left these communities – many of which are in my district – struggling to make the necessary repairs to restore their way of life. I would gratefully appreciate any assistance your Agency can provide to the State of Illinois in conducting damage assessments. We cannot afford for damage to any family home or small business to go overlooked.
To provide some context, on July 12, 2017, flash flood warnings were issued for seven counties in northern Illinois. At first, it seemed the area would simply be hit by a couple of brief summer storms, but the rain kept coming, and the water levels kept rising. It didn’t take long for Metra to shut down some of its train lines, which my commuting constituents depend on, due to high water. Soon, hundreds of homes, businesses, other buildings, and cars were underwater. The best planning and the strongest response by local government can only do so much to combat 6-8” of rain in under a day, which is exactly what happened in Lake County. Unfortunately, the flood risks only continued to grow.
The Fox River begins in Wisconsin and runs south through my district, and there are a number of lakes in the northern part of my district. After four days of rainfall in the region, water levels continued to rise, culminating with the Fox Lake cresting at 25 percent higher than its average water level. The Illinois Department of Resources described the situation as “flooding of this magnitude has not been seen before.” However, the story does not end here. The high-water levels negatively affected the normally lively economy around the lakes this time of year, meaning the economy has likely foregone millions of dollars.
The State of Illinois needs your help. We need to understand how far the damage goes, so we can move forward with healing our communities.