Flooding assistance available to Stephenson County residents

Due to the recent flooding throughout Stephenson County, the Stephenson County Emergency Management Agency and several nonprofit organizations are collaborating to provide flooding assistance.

For residents needing flooding assistance, please call CONTACT of Northwest Illinois at 815-233-4357. Resident information will be recorded and passed along to assistance groups.

The Red Cross distributed Flood Clean Up Kits for those impacted by recent flooding events at St. John’s Church at 1010 S. Park Blvd. in Freeport.

For additional updates, please follow the City of Freeport’s Facebook page and sign up for CodeRed emergency notifications on the City’s website that notify residents directly.

Floodwaters closed a portion of Illinois Route 73 in Pearl City on Monday after 7-12 inches of rain fell during a 48-hour period in some parts of Stephenson County.

Some residents living just north of the downtown area were using boats to access their properties after the floodwaters forced them from their homes.

The town also experienced flooding in 2010 and 2017.

East of Pearl City, the Pecatonica River continued to rise, prompting the Freeport Police Department to create a road closure page to assist residents.

At 6:19 p.m. the National Weather Service reported that Business Highway 20 west of Freeport, Route 75 east of Freeport, and Route 73 between Pearl City and Lena remained closed.

“Some locations that will experience flooding include Freeport, Lena, Pearl City, Cedarville, Davis, Dakota, German Valley, Winslow, Rock City, Ridott, Buena Vista, Loran, Rock Grove, Oneco, Orangeville, Kent, Scioto Mills, Damascus, Red Oak and the Stephenson County Fairgrounds,” a NWS alert said.

A flood warning for the area was extended to Aug. 12 for the Pecatonica River at Freeport.

“At 15.5 feet, numerous streets are closed north and south of Illinois Highway 75 and water enters the first floor level of a few homes. Water also begins to enter Taylor Park. Businesses along Van Buren Street north of the Pecatonica River are directly affected by water,” the NWS said.

At 7:30 p.m. the river’s flood stage was 15.4 feet and was slowly rising.

“The river is expected to rise to a crest of 15.7 feet tomorrow morning (Aug. 9) then slowly fall. It will then fall below flood stage Thursday morning. Flood stage is 13.0 feet,” the alert said.

On Tuesday, the City of Freeport provided this information in a news release:

Due to significant rainfall and flash flooding, several streets throughout the City of Freeport are still impassable. The Pecatonica River has currently leveled at 15.72 ft., but floodwaters may still rise. Highlighted are new closures as of 4 P.M., Tuesday, August 9.

Current closures: Henderson Road, streets north of E. Stephenson Street, streets east of Hancock Street, Route 75/ E. Stephenson Street from Hancock Street to the city limits

Krape Park is now closed. Gladewood residents are requested to use the south entrance for exit and entrance.

Yellow Creek is continuing to rise. Emergency personnel are warning residents not to walk or drive through floodwaters. Floodwaters are fast moving in several areas and have strong currents. Individuals cannot judge the conditions of the road structure and most vehicles cannot drive through the level of flooding occurring right now.

Additionally, the Freeport Fire Department is requesting that citizens do not enter flooded basements, as electrical panels become a fatal hazard.

The Red Cross is scheduled to distribute Flood Clean Up Kits for those impacted by recent flooding events. Kits will be available at St. John’s Church at 1010 S. Park Blvd. in Freeport on Wednesday, August 10 from noon to 3 P.M. and Thursday, August 11 from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M.

For additional updates, please follow the City of Freeport’s Facebook page and sign up for CodeRed emergency notifications on the City’s website that notify residents directly.

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In Freeport, the following roads were closed until further notice due to rising flood levels:

• Henderson Street, North & South

• Streets north of E. Stephenson Street

• Streets east of Hancock Street

• Route 75/E. Stephenson Street from Hancock St. to city limits

“Please note that this is a developing emergency. Road closures may be added or removed. Refresh your browser for the latest road closures,” the statement said.

Emergency personnel are also warning residents not to walk or drive through floodwaters noting that floodwaters are fast moving in several areas and have strong currents.

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.