“If the drains aren't open, the water's not going anywhere." Foreman Todd Marsh has worked for the city for over 20 years and says this year has had its own unique set of problems. “The hardest part of it is finding out where the intakes are. Cuz they're covered up with a couple feet of snow from the long winter we've had this year."
But even though storm drain preparations are underway, Stephenson County Emergency Management official Robert Baker isn’t too concerned about the rain threat, “There wasn't too much precip moisture content in the snow that we had previously, before this last snowfall so we expect a half inch to be kind of absorbed by a lot of the snow."
He explains that since we've had drier, fluffier snow over the past several months--that'll be able to absorb most of the rain that we get. And here's another reason why he doesn't expect much flooding, “The Yellow Creek and the Pecatonica [River] are actually low at this point so we should be alright."
That wasn't the case in 2010 and 2011 when this was the scene all over Stephenson County. High rivers and ample rain led to widespread devastation. To prepare for future disasters, Stephenson County is the first in the Stateline to have an 'Inundation Mapping Program.' Baker says, “It would actually show on the map graphically of, like, what areas would be actually be flood waters."
Marsh remembers the floods well and knows that he plays a big role in keeping the residents of Freeport safe, “I know when i get these open, if I have family or friends in the area I know they can safely get to work or school or whatever they have to do."