SILVER LAKE -- A number of residents here waited anxiously Thursday to get back and inspect their flooded homes. Record flooding along this stage of the Fox River has left water covering a number of adjacent roads and filling numerous homes along the banks.
The previous record height for the Fox River is listed at 15.2 feet. On Thursday afternoon, July 13th, the river reached 17.45 feet. By then, the Fox still had not crested; that was expected to happen Thursday evening with the river rising slightly more to about 17.6 feet. The water was so powerful, some people could not get back to survey their homes.
Jamie and Anthony Gonzales paddled their way back home in frustration.
"We couldn't get up there right now -- it's not safe to be out there," said Anthony Gonzales.
It's not safe because their house is no longer on Riverside Drive. It's now in the Fox River and the current was keeping them from seeing just how bad it has gotten since they evacuated late Wednesday.
"Within ten minutes, it was up an inch or two," said Jamie Gonzales.
"At that point, we knew we had to get out. So we started grabbing as much stuff as we could," Anthony Gonzales said.
Down the stream, Kristen Fiegel helped at her grandfather's house -- a home that has been in the family for 70 years.
"They are knee-deep in their living room. All of everything is wrecked. All of their antiques is, yeah, it's devastating," Fiegel said.
A short distance from there, one driver after another had to turn around on Highway 50 at the point the popular road to Lake Geneva crosses the Fox River. The pavement there was under three feet of water.
Since Wednesday night, getting around has been a challenge for tourists and locals alike.
"We drove down, I swear, every road they had between us and 36 and 11. We finally got down to Waterford which was the only place that had any power. While we were eating dinner, in the middle of dinner, power starts going out there," said Donald Haima, who lives nearby.
While traffic snakes its way along detour routes, a lengthy commute is the least of concerns in Silver Lake.
"Everything's just gone, everything, our home, just gone, you know," Anthony Gonzales said. "We don't have anything else. We had everything in there. Now it's just all part of the river now."
Residents say they will not know the full extent of the damage to their homes until the Fox River finally starts to recede.