Agencies prepare for flooding
Hip waders? Check.
Buckets for bailing water, working sump pump and wet dry vac? Check, check, check.
Public works departments and emergency services departments across Rock County have been busy dealing with flooding caused by high river levels.
As of 8 a.m. today, the Rock River at Afton was at 10.20 feet. Flood stage is 9 feet.
At 10.5 feet, water affects Riverside Park and downtown Janesville.
On Monday, the public works crews already were stacking up sandbags along the river wall in Janesville.
“Historically, we know where we have problems,” said John Whitcomb, city of Janesville operations manager. “As a matter of course we keep an eye on those locations.”
Almost all of the serious high water problems have occurred in March and April, and Whitcomb and his staff know the drill.
So does Beloit Township Fire Chief Dennis Ahrens.
“We haven’t had any serious issues yet,” Ahrens said. “If we get a rush of water, there could be the concerns.”
Townships along the river have stocked up on sand and sandbags.
“People really need to be aware of the situation; the water levels could rise fast,” Ahrens said. “You could go to the work in the morning and come home at night to much higher water.”
Rock County Emergency Management Director Shirley Connors encouraged people not to “wait until the last minute to prepare.”
What are conditions like?
The National Weather Service at Sullivan said flood warnings continued for the Rock River at Jefferson, Fort Atkinson, Newville and Afton.
As of Tuesday morning:
-- Janesville: Sandbags were up along the river between the Center Way and Milwaukee Street bridges. Cautionary barricades have gone up on Joseph Street near Riverside Park.
-- Washington Road from Hartzel Road to Stebbinsville Road is closed due to high water.
-- Beloit Newark Road: Water was about 1 foot away from running over Beloit Newark Road. “High water” signs have been posted.
-- South Nelson Road: Water was about 2 to 3 feet away from the road.
-- South River Road and South Oakley Road are clear of water at this time. Water is about 5 feet from the roads.
-- South Christiansen Road: Water was about 2 to 3 feet from the road.
-- Happy Hollow area: Water is about 2 feet from the road. The parking lot is clear of water, but the boat landing is covered with water.
-- Beloit and Rock townships: The water was over the banks by the Town Line Road bridge.
-- Burrwood Park and Glenhill subdivisions were not flooded yet.