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Rain, melting snow cause Rock River to rise

Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:13 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 4:41 p.m. CDT
Rain and melting snow caused the Rock River to rise as depicted by this photo of the Oregon dam Tuesday morning. Photo by Earleen Hinton
A bridge at Castle Rock State park is nearly covered with water as Rock River levels increased throughout Ogle County thanks to rain on Sunday and melting snow. Photo by Earleen Hinton
A sign marking the kayak/canoe launch below the Oregon dam is surrounded by the Rock River below the Oregon dam. River levels increased throughout Ogle County thanks to rain on Sunday and melting snow. Photo by Earleen Hinton

With the Rock River almost at flood stage Tuesday afternoon, Ogle County Sheriff's Police were getting prepared.

"We're keeping an eye on it," Sheriff Michael Harn said. "It's at 12.9 feet at the river gauge in Byron now, and 13 feet is flood stage."

Temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s, along with sometimes heavy rain Saturday and Sunday, melted several inches of snow that fell in the last two weeks, flooding fields and filling ditches, waterways, and creeks to their brims across the county.

By Sunday evening, the water crept across roads in low-lying areas.

All that in turn, brought the Rock River out of its banks in some spots by Monday afternoon.

Deputies have been regularly observing the river and checking with residents who live in flood-prone areas, especially around Byron, in the Murray Subdivision near Grand Detour, and Brooks Isle south of Oregon, Harn said.

So far, he said, residents appear to be coping with the rising waters on their own, based on their years of experience living near the river.

"No one has asked for any sand bags or any assistance yet," Harn said.

Plans are in place if evacuation should become necessary, he said.

Residents who need assistance due to flooding are encouraged to call the sheriff's department at 815-732-6666.

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