Residents clean up debris and mud Saturday from water
Seneca resident Buck Bogren used a rake Saturday morning to push sticks and mud out of the standing water in his garage.
Bogren was just one of a handful of residents on Seneca's Vaughey Street cleaning up after a flash flood drenched their properties Friday night along Crotty Creek, bringing a total of more than 7 inches of rain Friday to Seneca.
The water was receding Saturday morning, but pools of water filled several yards.
"There's not much I can do, just wait for the water to go away in a day or two," said Bogren, who had up to 18 inches of water in his garage and had his backyard turned into a pond.
Some other ommunities in La Salle County were in similar shape as Seneca. Storms damaged power lines in Sheridan, causing the town to be without power for a significant time. Others in Serena reported water damage in their basements.
The Illinois Department of Transportation closed the Route 178 bridge near Utica briefly Saturday morning, as the rising river level caused concern that a barge with a construction crane on it might break loose and strike the bridge, IDOT’s Kyle Videgar told Shaw Media. The crane is in use for the construction of a new bridge parallel and next to the current Route 178 bridge.
A towboat moved the barge to a shallower spot, and the barge was secured at that location. IDOT still will continue monitoring the situation, he said.
Seneca Mayor Jeff Olson, who is Bogren's neighbor, had up to 10 inches in his finished basement. Olson said he talked to quite a few people around town, including the Seneca Emergency Management Agency, and the flash flooding is the worst he's seen in 34 years.
The Valley View subdivision to the east of the creek was turned into a lake Friday night, Olson said. Residents spent their Saturday mornings hosing mud off their driveways and removing sticks and debris left behind.
Seneca village crews worked Saturday morning at cleaning out any debris interfering with the flow of the creek.
"We're going to utilize the resources the best we can," Olson said. "There's a lot of work ahead and a lot of clean up."
Ron Smith, who lives at 351 Vaughey St., Seneca, said early Friday night, residents couldn't even tell where the road was it was so covered in water. Mud caked the bottom of his wooden fence almost a foot high, but water had receded Saturday.
"The water flows from the hill and fills up in the field, and it's done this for years and years, but this is the worst I've seen it in 25 to 30 years," Smith said. "I've never had the water come up to my garage. I had a foot of water in my sheds. The alley behind my house was just flowing water."
Olson said Crotty Creek flows from a hill at a "T" with the Illinois & Michigan Canal, which also flooded over into some yards. Some of that water ends up hitting the "T" and not flowing well, Smith said. The creek also collects silt from farm fields, which is regularly removed by village crews. The mayor said the creek is an ongoing issue the village is working with engineers to resolve.
The Seneca Management Agency opened an emergency shelter at Our Assembly of God Church until 2 a.m. No one needed the service, but it was available as flood waters had become an issue that could have potentially pushed people out of their houses, said Grant Hacker, coordinator at the agency.
"We were at maximum capacity," Hacker said of the water flow.
While many of the residents had standing water, mud and debris to deal with, none of have reportedinjuries, Olson said.
Mud slides were reported east of Seneca on U.S. 6 to Morris on Friday night.