Floodgates at Clinton

Two workers cross the Ninth Avenue North floodgates on Friday in Clinton. The gates have been closed until further notice due to high Mississippi River waters.

Elise Loyola/ Clinton Herald
Herald Staff Writer

Area authorities are handling flood issues occurring from recent storms.

Heavy rain from the Dubuque area is expected to affect the Mississippi River. The Corps of Engineers expects water levels to raise to 18 feet in the Clinton area. Friday morning they began closing the Clinton floodgates at the Ninth Avenue North boat ramp.

Mayor Rodger Holm said while they were not expecting Dubuque to get the rain it did, Clinton is prepared for the flooding. Public Works Director Gary Schellhorn said they are being cautious as they would be in any flood event and are taking all necessary precautions. However, he said the city’s levee system can handle as much as 31 feet in water levels and he is confident the system will work. He said water stages are expected to drop back to a manageable level by next week. Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness said the flooding should be fairly short-lived as long as the area does not see too much rain.

Holm said he is saddened for all those affected in Dubuque and Savanna, Ill.

Residents and businesses in Savanna have been greatly affected by flood waters. The Savanna Fire Department initiated an evacuation for residents at 6:15 p.m. Thursday due to flooding of the eastern section of Savanna. Flooding was occurring in parts of Erie Street, Calumet Street, Portland Avenue, Ontario Avenue and Viaduct Road, as well as parts of 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th streets. By 11 p.m., approximately 20 homes and 80 residents were evacuated.

This flooding comes a year after the July 23 and July 24, 2010 flooding that affected residents and damaged the Savanna viaduct on Illinois 84. Last year heavy rains caused flooding of Plum River. Mike Nester, information officer for the Savanna Fire Department, said unfortunately, the flooding is affecting the same people as last year.

Mayor Larry Stebbins said the city was luckier this year than last year, as well as more prepared. He said he feels they were a step ahead this time. People were scared due to last year’s flooding and Stebbins said they had people evacuated quickly.

“No one was going to take a chance,” said Stebbins.

The city also worked to prevent other problems that occurred during last year’s flood. Last year the city lost water pressure due to a pipe line that was damaged. Thursday night the city shut off that line in order to prevent that from happening again. Stebbins said he felt the city and other organizations did a good job to combat the flooding and keep the citizens safe.

“Everything went very well and I was impressed with the team work to get things done and get our residents to safety,” said Savanna Fire Chief Shawn Picolotti in a press release. “We had a game plan in place and implemented it.”

Fire departments from Thomson, Ill., Mount Carroll, Ill., Shannon, Ill., and Sabula assisted residents in removing items from their homes, assisted with gas and electric shut-off and closed roadways. The Savanna Police Department, Savanna Ambulance Association and Illinois State Police also assisted in the area.

More than 40 Jo-Carroll customers had to have their power shut off. The water reached Swiss Colony and both railroad yards are out of commission.

A shelter for those displaced by flooding has been set up at the Presbyterian Church, 502 Third St., Savanna, and the American Red Cross is assisting at the shelter.

For more information, people may call the Rev. Mike Wey at (815) 238-9132.

Savanna officials are hopeful that the condition will not get worse. By early Friday morning the water stopped rising and began going down. Nester said Friday morning that they were waiting to see if the waters continued to recede. He said hopefully the worst is past, unless the area gets more rain.

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