Rock River flooding spreads to Roscoe homes

Chris Green

When it comes to the Rock River right now, the only thing officials and longtime riverfront residents know for sure is that it flows north to south.

Asking about things like when the floodwaters might crest and what will be the effects ... well, your guess is as good as theirs.

What’s making the river so unpredictable?  

“Ice. Big chunks of ice,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Wilson.

“The ice breaks up, blocks parts of the river, water begins to pile up at the river gauge, and the water rises. So until the ice breaks and moves downstream, we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

What’s happened so far is chunks of ice have jammed the river at several locations including Fordam Dam, Latham Bridge and near Roscoe. Flooding at the YMCA in Rockford, Shore Drive in Machesney Park and now homes in Edgemere Terrace in Roscoe is the result.

Floodwaters crossed the roadway of Edgemere Terrace at 8:10 a.m. Friday, said Emergency Services Disaster Agency Director Denny Lolli. By 3:30 p.m., the water was rising rapidly.

“We’re preparing for worst-case scenario,” Lolli said. “We have the Sheriff’s Department work crew detail standing by to fill sandbags.”

Emergency officials set up a third sandbagging station at the Roscoe Street Department facility at 5402 Swanson Road. Earlier in the week, sandbag stations were set up at the Michalsen Office Furniture parking lot, 8010 N. Second St., and the Harlem Township offices, 819 Melbourne, both in Machesney Park.

Also Friday, the Red Cross moved its shelter from the Riverside Community Church to the Harlem Community Center, 900 Roosevelt Road, in Machesney Park.

Red Cross Financial Director Stephanie Matthews said the new site is more centralized to serve Roscoe and Machesney Park residents who may need assistance with food, clothing and shelter. As of Friday afternoon, the Red Cross had provided assistance to two people, she said.

Staff writer Chris Green can be reached at 815-987-1241 or