Winnebago Sheriff's Department warily eyes Machesney for flooding

Staff reports

Flooding caused by ice jams in the Rock River have the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department notifying some Machesney Park residents that they ought to put sandbags around their homes today, Sgt. Steve Depauw said.

The homes that could experience flooding are in low-lying areas near the river, such as Ventura Boulevard, Shore Drive and Queen Oaks Drive, he said.

Sandbags can be filled at the Harlem Township garage, 819 Melbourne Ave.

“We notified the people along the low-lying areas because the water is getting higher,” Depauw said.

The director of Winnebago County’s Emergency Services Disaster Agency says flooding caused by ice jams in the Rock River has not affected any homes in Winnebago County nor has it submerged any roads.

Dennis Lolli said he visited low-lying homes in Machesney Park and saw water creeping into backyards, but “it looks like it’d have to climb up another 2 feet to bother homes.”

“But with ice jams,” he added, “you never know.”

Still flooded are Rockford’s YMCA parking lot and Love’s Park’s Martin Park, Lolli said.

He described potential flooding as “isolated,” but said his agency will monitor the river throughout the day.

The Sheriff’s Department’s warning comes as the National Weather Service has issued a flood advisory for central Winnebago County until 1 p.m. today.

The weather service reports that there is potential flooding south of Auburn Street to Whitman Avenue along the Rock River. Another area of potential flooding is to the south, from Country Club Beach Road to Brown Avenue, the service says. Flooding is due to “ice jams.”

A similar flood advisory is in place for the Rock River at Byron in Ogle County. That advisory is in effect until Friday evening, the weather service says. At 4 a.m., the river’s stage was 12 feet. Flood stage is 13 feet. The river will remain about 12 feet through late tonight, the weather service predicts.

Motorists who encounter flooded roads are urged not to drive on them, as water levels might be too high to get  cars across safely. Instead, the weather service says, move to higher ground.

Rockford Register Star