Ice jam causes Rock River to hit floodstage


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Posted Online: Jan. 05, 2010, 7:50 pm
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com
An ice jam on the Rock River that sent waters shooting past flood stage inMoline early Tuesday could be just be the first of the winter.



"It could easily happen again," National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Legro said Tuesday.

The Rock began climbing steeply around 6:30 p.m. Monday and reached flood stage —12 feet — around 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to the NWS. The spike was caused by an ice jam near the North Shore Inn in Moline and sent water into several yards and the parking lot of the Inn, where it was still visible as of about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Residents along Moline's North Shore Drive reported that authorities came to their homes in the early hours of Tuesday, warning they should be ready to evacuate if the river continued its rise.

The river peaked at about 12.78 feet at 4 a.m., then began falling nearly as sharply as it rose, according to the NSW.

It was at 12.1 feet as of 10:21 a.m., Mr. Legro said.

Mr. Legro said the forecast Tuesday indicated that the temperature could stay cold enough for the river's surface to freeze solidly some time this week. He said a solidly frozen surface should alleviate the dangers of ice-jam flooding.

Moline Fire Department Battalion Chief Todd Allen said Tuesday afternoon that area authorities, including local public safety and public works agencies, were preparing to formulate a response plan in case there is additional flooding.

The Rock flooded several times last winter because of ice jams, including one in early March that reached a record 16.38 feet.

Joseph Senatra lives on North Shore Drive and said he woke early Tuesday morning and saw water lapping at a tree in his backyard.

He has lived near the river for over five decades and knows it well enough to know that when it reaches that tree, it's just above the Rock's flood stage.

Mr. Senatra said the higher waters caused by this ice jam is nothing compared to other flooding he has seen.

But he was not taking chances. He was stacking his possessions on make-shift tables made of saw horses and closet doors, just in case the river jams again.

"I'm going to leave this stuff up until the spring," he said.




















 



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