ROCK RIVER ICE JAMS IN ILLINOIS EXPECTED TO EASE THROUGH WEEKEND
March 2, 2001 Flooding caused by a seven-mile-long ice jam on the Rock River in northwest Illinois is expected to ease through the weekend, according to NOAA's Quad Cities National Weather Service Forecast Office in Davenport, Iowa. The ice jam pushed the Rock River out of its banks near Joslin, Ill., in Rock Island and Henry counties on Feb. 24, causing evacuations from low-lying areas.
Forecasters at the Quad Cities Weather Service office said the river crested at 18.02 feet on Tuesday in Joslin, and crested overnight Wednesday in Moline at 12.7 feet. Despite a forecast for light snow or rain, Charles Fenley, the meteorologist in charge, said the river level is expected to continue falling with one caveat.
"Water is slowly getting through the ice jam, and the river level should continue to drop," Fenley said Thursday afternoon. "But we're warning people that these are huge ice jams and any significant break is likely to cause temporary increases in the river level of one to two feet downstream."
Fenley added, "The forecast for the next few days doesn't call for any significant rain or snow and temperatures aren't going to warm much. That would indicate there won't be any sudden break-up in the ice jams. When this broke loose up north a few days ago, highs were near 50 and we had almost an inch of rain on Saturday. It would take something in that range to have a big impact now.
"The railroad trestles are a compounding factor in these ice jams being cleared. The ice is jamming against the trestles and causing the river to back up and drain into low-lying areas."
Fenley said the Weather Service would continue to monitor the situation closely to provide immediate notice of increasing river levels to the public. "We will continue to stay in close communication with county emergency management, the Army Corps of Engineers and local communities about the condition of the ice jams and the level of the river," he added. "This is a situation that merits being watched closely until the ice jam is gone. We don't expect that to happen for several days, at least."
According to Fenley the river forecast issued Thursday showed the Rock River falling below flood stage at Joslin by Sunday morning and falling below flood stage at Moline by Friday morning. Flood stage at both locations is 12 feet.
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