STATELINE (WIFR) – Intense flooding has become a major concern across the Stateline as people make desperate attempts to cross deep water to get to their home.
In Byron, the Rock River is at its highest level in more than a decade
Neighbors in Irwin Acres near Byron have been hit hard by high waters. Most of the neighborhood is underwater with owners sleeping in hotels or staying with friends.
“In 1996, it just seeped up through the crawlspace,” says Irwin Acres resident Steve Keen. “It didn’t get any of the soot or anything in the house so we figured we were fine, but, as you can see, we aren’t.”
At least a dozen businesses, including the Rockford Health System Clinic in Byron, are cut off because of the roads leading to them being covered in deep water.
Neighbors say they’re not looking forward to the cleanup in the coming days.
“We’ve dealt with helping my in-laws clean out after it gets up into the driveway and into the garage,” says Cindy Keen. “I don’t know… it’s going to be really hard if it’s in the house… it’s going to be real hard for me because there will be a lot of work to do all over again.”
Roscoe’s Edgemere Terrace Neighborhood is also underwater forcing some to voluntarily evacuate. Some say they are unfortunately starting to get used to the flooding.
"The way my house is built, it’s built up safe and it just gets water all around it,” says Herb Rosene. He’s lived in the neighborhood for 20 years. “It looks like a house boat. It's going to take a couple of weeks for the septic to dry out and we don’t use the well when the water gets this high. It's inconvenient. I'm going over to my parents for a shower and a shave."
Some neighbors chose to leave on their own rather than paddle home every night. Others will stay put and say they don’t mind the hassle from a flood because they live in such a peaceful area.
A few years ago the county bought some homes on that area with plans to demolish them into green space.
The county has the same plan for Blackhawk Island which is also seeing massive flooding.
"I'm tired of dealing with this...that water's cold,” says Wendi Dixon who hasn’t been to her home on the island since Thursday. “I was out to check on some stuff in my shed...and it was up to my shins...and it was cold."
The road leading into the island near Rockford Airport remains submerged stranding some of the families that decided to stay. Some backyards, lawns, are all part of the river tonight. It’s not as much of a problem for those who have boats, however those who drive to get on and off the island say they had to find somewhere else to stay in order to get to work.
In Machesney Park, people living along the river are also dealing with high water levels.
Shore Drive suffered a lot of damage in the 2008 floods, and this weekend, they’re seeing much of the same.
Some people have to walk through high waters to get to and from their homes. Some say although it’s not as bad as five years ago, this flood’s impact is getting there.
From the north side of the Stateline to west of Rockford…
In Freeport, North Van Buren and North Lancaster Roads are still closed due to flooding.
River levels in Stephenson County are expected to recede tonight. The Pecatonica River level is expected to stay at around 14 feet in Freeport until Monday.
If you can’t get to your home and just have nowhere to go, the Red Cross has set up shelters throughout the Stateline. Hilltop Ministries on Mitchell Road in Machesney Park is open, but, you’re going to need another spot to bring your pets.
If evacuations happen in Stephenson County, the Red Cross will also make shelter available.
River levels are expected to go down tonight leaving behind a whole lot of cleanup.