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Rock, Jefferson County residents eye rising water levels

Sandbags available to those in need

JANESVILLE, Wis. - Rock County officials are offering sandbags to those in need as the area remains under a flood warning in anticipation of forecast heavy rains.

A Rock County Sheriff's Office statement said bags will be available for residents at the Rock Town Hall, the Janesville boat landing on North River Road and the Rock County Highway Department sheds located at Highway 59 and North Sherman Road in Edgerton.

According to the statement, several county areas are closed as local forecasts call from 2-4 inches of rain this week, including: Happy Hollow Park, Mallwood Estates at Lake Shore Drive from East Road 3 Street to East Road 7 Street and East Road 9 Street east from Ridge Road.

The following areas are being monitored as a result of the flood warning: South River Road, Sugar River Park and Avon Township.

The statement said the National Weather Service has indicated that the Rick River is nearing major flood stages by Lake Koshkonong and Newville.

Jefferson County residents and emergency management workers are also keeping an eye on water levels as they brace for more rain.

Emergency responders say staying ahead of the water is key to preventing serious damage.

Dave Heinichen has lived and worked near the Rock River bank in Jefferson County for over a decade.  Water now completely covers his old back yard, something he claims did not happen until the infamous floods of 2008.

 "This isn't right.  This isn't normal," said Heinichen, referring to the unusually high water level.

Rising water can be found throughout the county nearing highways, shutting down roads and Fort Atkinson's Riverwalk.

 "We also have a ban on fishing close to the river's edge so we don't have somebody falling in with the cold water and the current.  That's going to make it very hard to get out there and rescue them," said Jeff Woods, city engineer for Fort Atkinson.

The Rock River is expected to crest at 17.5 feet by Wednesday or Thursday, 3-5 feet above normal.

Rock, Jefferson County residents eye rising water levels

"We have gotten sandbags ready.  We've taken a look at some of the manholes close to the river to make sure they're sealed up, working with the water department and waste water make sure those two plants are functioning and have not been affected," said Woods.

Much of Jefferson County falls under moderate to major flood stages.  Frost on the ground is adding to their troubles.

"Hopefully if we have a few warm days we could get the frost out of the ground, and we could have it absorb into he ground, it wouldn't go into the waterways," said Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Donna Haugom.

 County and city officials are keeping an eye on the forecast, water gauges and snow to the north that has yet to melt.

 They also have sand and sandbags for people who need them.

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