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Stephenson County Under Disaster Proclamation

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Much of Stephenson County remains underwater. Homes and businesses are soaked from heavy rain. The State of Illinois issued a disaster proclamation just hours after the County did.

Road closed signs have disabled flooded streets with barriers and yellow caution tape.  Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders says those barriers are going to make travelers find alternate routes.

“Starting Friday night, obviously, with the storm, we’ve had and over the weekend,” said Snyders. “Our rivers, creeks and related tributaries, they constantly rise and fall and rise and fall, so we have had several road closures.”

Sheriff Snyders says it’s important that those looking to pass through the flooded streets know the barriers are in place to keep everyone out of harm’s way.

“Stay off the closed roads. There are other routes you can take,” said Sheriff Snyders. “I know that we have received many complaints of traffic continuing on roads that are closed.”

High water throughout the Stephenson County area has caused severe damage to homes and villages like Pearl City, where it seems that now everyone is in recovery mode.  One resident, Joe Bastian, says his home took on several feet of floodwater.

“When I saw the water come up the street, I knew we were going to be in for it,” said Bastian. “I never ever expected it. I’ve had 18 inches of water in my garage. It was eight-feet total from the basement floor, from all the way to where the water line stopped at the top of the stairs.”

Joe Bastian says he has been through flooding in his home about five times in the 20 years he has lived in Pearl City.  While he says he’s used to it, it still is never easy.

“I guess you just become a little callused to it just because you have to,” said Bastian. “Once it happens…whats your property worth? You can’t just pick up and move.”   

Motorists who are caught driving on closed roads could face up to a $500 fine and even jail time in Stephenson County.

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