Sandbags, river closings, fines, and what to do if your basement floods

Winnebago County Sheriff Sgt. Brad Fitz had this advice for county residents and visitors: “We do have water up in yards, but I am not aware of houses with water. We have had sandbags and sand available up in Harlem Township since Friday. That’s at 819 Melbourne Ave. They’re out where people can get a hold of them. That’s being handled through ESDA (Emergency Service and Disaster Agency).

“Currently, the river is still closed. That includes the Rock River and Pecatonica within Winnebago County. Based on the present forecasts by the National Weather Service, these rivers are not going to be below flood stage until at least Sunday. Based off the current forecast, the soonest we would open the river on a no-wake basis would be the middle of next week. We would urge anyone near or around the water to exercise caution. With the rapid current, they could be drowned very quickly, so please use extreme caution.

“Anyone who would violate the closed order could be subject to a fine of up to $500.

“If anyone does end up with water in their basement, they should turn off all gas appliances and electricity. Also, if someone does end up evacuating their house, they should notify the Sheriff’s department or Emergency Services at 987-5940 or 987-5990,” Fitz said.

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