Rock River front homes battling water at their doorstep


Rock River front residents in Machesney Park are no stranger to minor flooding and a slightly higher river bank, but the weather this fall so far has dealt them a much bigger hand than before.

“I bought this two years ago, and so this is the fifth flood we’ve had in two years and this is the worst so far”, says resident Kelly Wolf.

The rain has been relentless in the Stateline this fall. Water levels of the Rock River in Machesney Park are closing in on record height, which was set in 2008 in what residents called then the 100 Years Flood.

President of Rockford Home Owners Association Steve Lucas says, “we are at 10-million gallons per minute flowing by, we’re just under the 2008 flood level”.

The rising water is transforming peoples houses.  Making garages look like boat houses, driveways like boat launches, and back yards non existent.  Residents, like Kelly Wolf, who has dealt with floods in the past, this time prepared for the waters the best she could.

“A lot of people sand bag, I have nine sump pumps in my house plus a trash pump which is gas powered. So all im doing in recycling this water”, Wolf said.

For some areas,  no amount of sand bags or pumps were able to help keep the river front homes dry.

“There are people who are out of their houses on Shore Dr. and up in that area already. Just because the water is so deep htey can’t get to their house”, said Lucas.

While home owners braced their homes for the water, many were not able to get their boats out in time.  Something the President of Rockford Home Owners Association says creates another hazard.

Lucas says, “[we’re] trying to rescue boats that are still out on the river, there’s a couple hundred boats with the flood”.
He continues, “boats could get loose, tear away from the dock. If the docks get hit by big enough trees docks will get ripped out and the dock and the boat will go down stream”.

This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last that residents here have to deal with floods.  Residents have learned to lean on each other for help to make sure their homes withstand the water.

“All the neighbors were all helpful because we’re all in the same boat like literally and figuratively speaking”, says Wolf.
Wolf explains, “we love this river, and then it also does this but we still love it”.

The river reached 14.2ft in the 2008 flood, currently it’s at 13.9ft.

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