Janesville63.5°

Worst flooding may still lie ahead

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Stacy Vogel
April 12, 2008
— The good news?

Rain and/or snow Saturday probably will be light and won’t affect river levels.


The bad news?


The area still hasn’t felt the full effect of rain it received earlier this week.


“We’ll continue to see these rivers rise throughout the weekend,” said Chris Franks of the National Weather Service. “The Rock River is kind of a bigger river, so we see a slower response.”


In fact, the river isn’t expected to crest until Wednesday at 11.7 feet, said John Whitcomb, Janesville operations director. That would put it 2.7 feet above flood level, making it the sixth-highest level in recorded history, Whitcomb said.


The river was at 10.9 feet in Afton at 8 p.m. Friday. At 10.5 feet, water affects some homes, businesses and streets in the Riverside Park and Main Street areas of Janesville, according to the National Weather Service.


Officials are preparing for rising water as best they can, but there’s not much they can do, Whitcomb said.


“We do some proactive (actions) here with the sandbagging, but much of what will happen here is probably reactive,” he said.


Friday, officials reacted to high water on several streets and public areas in Rock County.


Janesville limited Joseph and Charles streets to local traffic only following flooding in the Mole-Sadler subdivision. It sandbagged the river walk in the 100 block of North Main Street and posted high-water warning signs on North Main Street between Hyatt Street and Centerway.


The city also closed the Kiwanis Bike Trail north of Mercy Hospital.


Whitcomb said the water might rise above the river walk on North Main Street. If it does, it will be the first time since he was named operations director seven years ago, he said.


The Janesville Parks Department closed internal roads in Riverside and Traxler parks Friday. It might close the parks entirely early next week, said Tom Presny, city parks director.


Technically, the parks’ boat launches are still open, but they are effectively closed because people have no way of getting their boats to the docks with the roads closed, Presny said.


The city has issued a slow/no wake order for the river, but Presny urged boaters to stay off the water altogether.


High water levels caused county officials to close Washington Road in Fulton Township, Weary Road from Tuttle Road to Highway 14 in Union Township and Happy Hollow Park in Rock Township.


AT A GLANCE


Flooding has affected the following areas in Rock County, according to county and Janesville officials:


-- Hanover Road between Hayner Road and the railroad, Rock Township


-- Beloit Newark Road from Hopkins Road to Avon Stores Road, Beloit Township


-- Washington Road from Hartzel Road to Stebbinsville Road, Fulton Township


-- Christiansen Road, Rock Township


-- Happy Hollow Park, Rock Township


-- Weary Road from Tuttle Road to Highway 14, Union Township


-- Riverside Park, Janesville


-- Traxler Park, Janesville


-- Mole-Sadler subdivision, Janesville


-- North Main Street between Hyatt Street and Centerway, Janesville


-- Kiwanis Bike Trail, Janesville



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