Ice jam causes minor flooding at Riverside Park and maybe Settlers Park


File photo: the National Weather Service monitors levels at the Rock River in Rockton.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a flood advisory for the Rock River at Rockton. An unpredictable ice jam has caused the river to rise to 8.8 feet at press time, early Tuesday morning, Dec. 27, 2022. During times of high water, residents can monitor 48-hour predictions on the NWS website. Levels are expected to decrease over the next week until the New Year, but the National Weather Service says that river forecasts during ice jams are less certain.  

Even at 7 feet in Rockton, low-lying areas of Riverside Park near Roscoe are already inundated.  Some of the river banks along Edgemere Terrace start to overflow at 8 feet.

But the NWS doesn't call it a flood until the river reaches 10 feet in Rockton, when low-lying structures would be threatened along Edgemere Terrace, downstream in Roscoe. At 9 feet, low-lying parts of Settlers Park in Rockton would be under water, but levels haven't reached that point this week.

However, the NWS says, "Significant river ice cover can cause large water level fluctuations and flooding with little advanced notice. River ice may also cause gauge observations to be inaccurate." 

The next NWS statement is expected by Tuesday afternoon.

On March 25, 1975, the Rock River reached a record 15.54 feet in Rockton. It reached 15.13 feet on March 17, 2019. At those levels, water would threaten multiple low-lying roads, even Main Street Rockton, Hawick Street, Old River Road, Roscoe Road, and Prairie Hill Road.

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