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FEMA to begin flood damage estimates in McHenry, Lake counties

Initial estimates predicted nearly 300 homes damaged, destroyed

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday to join the state in assessing the extent of flood damage across McHenry, Lake, Kane and Cook counties. The assessments will start as early as Friday morning.

Areas within these counties were greatly affected by near-record flooding in July, according to a news release from the governor's office. Rauner submitted the request after initial damage assessments conducted by county officials showed about 300 homes suffered major damage or were destroyed and more than 3,000 others were affected by flood waters, according to the release.

“Many people in these counties are struggling to recover from this flood, and we want to do everything possible to help them,” Rauner said in a statement. “These damage assessments will provide a clearer picture, not only of the damage, but also of what people need in order to fully recover from this disaster.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and local emergency management agencies will join FEMA to begin assessing damaged homes Friday morning. Assessments will continue through the weekend until all are complete.

IEMA also will work closely with local municipalities and county governments to document flood-related costs.

"That assessment will help determine whether the state could meet the federal threshold of $18.3 million for assistance that could help government agencies receive reimbursement for some of those flood-related expenses," the release stated.

Those funds affect people such as Fox Waterway Agency director Joe Keller. In early August, Keller said he was concerned about funding coming through for his agency. He said his agency now is working to clean debris from the waterway, but Keller is worried about how much that will cost.

“You’re talking about millions of dollars of damage seen and unseen,” Keller said.

In Springfield, the State Emergency Operations Center was activated for two weeks to help residents within these four counties and throughout northwest Illinois fight the flood.

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