Ice Jams and Flooding Becoming a Problem Along Rock River


If you have driven across or near the Rock River lately, you may have seen one of two things: either lots of ice or lots water.

Recently, the Rock River has seen plenty of ice pile up in many locations, including through downtown Rockford, as a result of a stretch of very cold days, combined with a few other factors.

“Some of the rivers were running high already due to some of the heavy rain that we saw both in November and then here in December. And when you have high flows and high velocities in the river it actually is, it can produce more ice a short amount of time,” says National Weather Service Hydrologist Bill Morris.

As a result of the ice formation on the river, areas of high water and flooding have been reported.

“With the ice jams as well, it can with the rapid fluctuations, you can get quick rises and quick flooding. So you may not necessarily be prepared for it,” says Chief Meteorologist Candice King.

One location seeing flooding is Dixon, where the river has risen into the upper half of the minor flood stage at 17.1 feet, and is expected to stay there thru early next week.

Then there’s Latham Park, which is experiencing moderate flooding with a river level above 11 feet. That is expected to last well into next week.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a return to much colder air this weekend with temperatures dipping in some cases well below zero. And that will likely produce more ice formation,” Hydrologist Bill Morris says.

And with more subzero temperatures expected late this weekend into early next week, scenes like these with the very high rivers could remain possible well into the end of January.

The National Weather Service wants to stress the importance of not approaching flooded areas as it only takes one foot of running water to sweep away a vehicle.

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