Janesville47.7°

Flooding is 'wait-and-see situation'

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
January 28, 2008
— Weather forecasters weren’t sure what kind of impact today’s rain and warm weather would have on Rock River flooding.

“It’s a little bit tough to say, but I don’t think we’ll get enough rain—one-tenth to two-tenths of an inch—to make too much difference,” said Chris Franks, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Sullivan.


Lt. Glen Hennig of the Town of Beloit Fire Department, agreed: “Basically it’s just a wait-and-see situation.”


The Rock River is flooding because of ice jamming.


“In that type of situation, it is really hard to predict what the river is going to do. Sometimes when it warms up, ice can break up and recollect in another area,” Franks said.


“The river may respond more to the fact it will warm up today than to the fact of a little precipitation today,” Franks said.


Meanwhile, town of Beloit firefighters have a plan for evacuating people and pets.


“We are prepared to do what we need to do with resources lined up including boats,” Hennig said.


A flood warning remains in effect until 4 a.m. Tuesday for central Rock County, according to a flood statement released at 5 a.m. today by the National Weather Service.


“Minor flooding is occurring, and minor flooding is forecast,” according to the National Weather Service.


Ice jamming along the Rock River, between Beloit and Afton continues to produce flooding in the Afton area south through Beloit Township.


The Rock County Sheriff’s Department used airboats Sunday morning to take two families back to their homes on Christianson Road so they could get items they needed. The families have been displaced since Jan. 20, said Barbara Tillman, chief deputy.


“(The) water level (on the Rock River) has actually gone down since Sunday,” Hennig said.


According to the National Weather Service, the river gauge at Afton was 10.33 feet as of 6 a.m. today and slowly falling.


“The National Weather Service doesn’t expect the river to go below 10 feet for three or four days,” Tillman said.


That still is above the 9-foot flood stage.


At the 10.5-foot stage, water will affect some homes, businesses and streets in the Riverside Park and Main Street areas of Janesville. There also are some flooded basements in downtown Beloit, according to the National Weather Service.


The river peaked at 12.21 feet Wednesday.


Flash flooding is not expected, but the National Weather Service is asking people not to drive their vehicles into areas where water covers the road.


Rock County roads that remain closed because of flooding are South River Road from Highway 11 to Happy Hollow Road, Oakley Road and Christianson Road off Happy Hollow Road, Tillman said.


The forecast calls for light rain this afternoon and tonight with showers Tuesday morning tapering to light rain Tuesday afternoon.


Temperatures were expected to reach the mid-40s today and low 40s Tuesday.



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