Stephenson County is no stranger to flooding. In 2017, summer storms prevented some drivers from even entering parts of town. Now – in the middle of winter – they’re dealing with flooding again.
This was the scene heading into Freeport this morning: flooded fields and heavy downpours greeting those that were coming into the city. Some roads in Stephenson County closed.
Lowell Crow, City Manager of Freeport said, “The biggest challenge is, because the ground is frozen, we’re not getting any help. It’s trying to do what we can to get the citizens prepared and make them understand that this is a unique situation and that they may be seeing flooding that they don’t normally see.”
Normally, after heavy rain showers, the ground is able to absorb some of the water. This time however, the frost levels in the ground are too high. Snowmelt from winter storms only add to the problem. It’s why the Pecatonica River is expected to reach moderate flood levels on Thursday.
Crow adds, “We’re seeing a little bit of rise in some areas. Our real concern is if Yellow Creek gets really above flood stage, then that will charge the Pecatonica even further. In the summer, that’s what happened.”
Last summer is when the Pecatonica River crested at 16 feet, causing major flooding. While it won’t be that bad this time around, officials are still preparing for the worst.
Crow said, “We’re getting our rescue crews and our fire department if we have to evacuate any homes in the area, they’re ready to go. We’re walking through the action plan.”