Changes coming to Rock River forecast services

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- Officials are The Chicago National Weather Service office are implementing changes to how flood stages are measured along different points along the Rock River in the Stateline. These changes are the result of a collection of a review of flooding impacts compared to various levels on the indicated gauges.

Cape Fear River floods Festival Park in Fayetteville, NC, Photo Date: September 16, 2018 / Photo: Ed Clemente / MGN / (MGN)

Longtime resident Barry Paye created a Facebook page to gain support and reached out to area leaders for help. He says, "It seems to me that our high water periods have been more frequent in the last few years. So I addressed with the National Weather Service as to why our stages at the Latham Park gauge were not accurately reflecting the water levels in our area."

Effective on April 1, 2019, the National Weather Service will change flood impact categories and levels at gauges in places such as Latham Park, Rockford Auburn Street, at the Fordham Dam, and at Byron.

The change is that The National Weather Service will be providing forecasts at a lower level than before, with the intention of providing a little more lead time for persons living along the river.This will also help experts forecast more accurately and show you whether or not you will be affected by the flooding.

Consulting Meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste of AllisonHouse says, "Whenever you do an evaluation of a river, you have to see it in various stages. When it's normal, when it's flooding, when it's low. Every river has its own behavior or personality if you will. It should be able to tell you, the viewer, the public, when you should expect flooding, how bad it should be, and whether or not you will be affected or not. And that should be the most important thing."

The National Weather Service in Chicago worked with local emergency management agencies to get the new flood stage numbers approved for use.