Janesville60.6°

Rock River to reach minor flood stage

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Ted Sullivan
March 23, 2011
— Spring flooding has hit the Rock River, and the water is predicted to hit minor flood stage today.

Shirley Connors, Rock County Emergency Management coordinator, said she has warned some communities to have sandbags ready.


“We’re just encouraging people to be prepared,” she said. “It’s a routine, unfortunately, when spring comes.”


The Rock River at Afton is predicted to reach the minor flood stage of 9 feet today and should continue to rise through the weekend, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


The river is expected to peak at 10.9 feet Sunday, just below the moderate flood stage of 11.1 feet, according to the geological survey.


The highest recorded level at Afton is 13.51 feet in June 2008.


The Sugar River at Brodhead is expected to peak at 3.7 feet today and then slowly drop to 1.6 feet early next week, according to the geological survey. Minor flood stage is 5 feet, and the record-high recorded at Brodhead was 11.4 feet in 1975.


Connors said town officials in areas where flooding occurs should follow flooding websites and be prepared for a possible evacuation. She said the American Red Cross also is ready to help.


People in flood plains should have important papers, prescriptions, purses, pets and phones ready in case they need to leave home, Connors said. They also should let someone know where they’re going if they leave.


Jake Wimberley, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said snowmelt and rain has brought the Rock River to flood stage. He said the river might not flood but must be monitored closely.


The region’s rainfall is slightly above normal for March, Wimberley said, and the snowmelt is normal for this time of year.


“We’re just going to keep monitoring the rivers,” he said.


In the summer of 2008, a 500-year flood swamped the Newville area. The Rock River was over its banks in downtown Janesville, where carp swam down Main Street. The flood damaged many homes beyond repair.


The river went over its banks again in March 2009. South River Road south of Janesville was closed, but it reopened a few days later.


The weather is predicted to be rainy today, with a high temperature of 50 degrees. No precipitation is predicted for the rest of the week.



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