St. Clair County on edge as waters rise during flood warning

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There are record high water levels for this time of year in Clay Township and that is not good news for residents.

The water is rising in Clay Township and it's bound to get worse before it gets any better. It's just one of several communities in southeast St Clair County under a flood warning.

"You put the sandbags up to try to save the seawall so when the water comes over, it doesn't get behind your wall and wash it out," said Dennis Kuffer.

Kuffer and his neighbors are preparing for the worst of it.

FOX 2: "If the damage to the seawall is really bad, what are you looking at?" 

"Across here? Probably about $75,000," he said.

Many homes in these communities back up to the rising water. Boat launches are under it and streets are beginning to flood. Yards are priming for immersion.

"We're trying to get prepared for the worst and pray for the best," said Artie Bryson, Clay Township supervisor.

Bryson says staffers handed out 47,000 sandbags so residents can protect their property. Another 24,000 are on the way.

"If the wind blows out of the west or southwest, it pushes more water here and it could raise our water levels an additional five inches," Bryson said.

This winter's stubborn ice coverage on the Great Lakes is to blame for the high water levels. St. Clair County's emergency management director says it will keep rising until mid-summer, opening the door for infrastructure and property damage.

"Last year we were concerned about the boat waves going over people's seawalls," Bryson said. "People's seawalls are already underwater. This year the waves are going to be lapping against people's homes."

County's Emergency Management Director Justin Westmiller is encouraging residents to cut the power to their docks, saying electrocution in water is a real risk.

Also if you have anything of value in your basement crawl space, it's a good idea to bring it up.