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Storms soak the Sauk Valley

More rain forecast; flash flood warnings in effect

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:15 a.m. CDT

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Severe thunderstorms pelted the Sauk Valley on Wednesday.

Heavy rain caused flash flooding on many roads, and lightning and gusting wind caused power outages.

The storms even brought hail, with a few reports of pea- to quarter-sized iceballs across the area, but no reports of damage.

Local law enforcement reported just one weather-related accident.

The Whiteside County Sheriff's Office responded to a wreck involving a semitrailer and a car near the Forest Inn on U.S. Route 30 between Rock Falls and Morrison.

ComEd reported several outages in Whiteside and Lee counties Wednesday; the largest in Dixon had more than 600 customers without power as of 5:30 p.m., with most of the power restored by 8 p.m.

The traffic lights at five intersections on Galena Avenue – at River, First, Second, Third and Seventh streets and Bloody Gulch Road – also were not working. Motorists treated them as four-way stops.

A flash-flood warning for Lee, Whiteside, Carroll and Ogle counties was in effect until about 6 p.m. Wednesday. A flash-flood watch remains in effect through this evening in Whiteside and Carroll counties and through Friday morning in Lee and Ogle counties.

Up to 3 inches of rain was expected across the area, with 4 to 5 inches possible in some places.

Lee County Emergency Management Director Kevin Lalley encouraged motorists to stay off the roads during downpours to avoid flash floods. He reminded them also not to drive through accumulating or standing water.

"You just don't know how deep it is," he said.

The heavy rainfall combined with recent snow melt was expected to put area streams and rivers above the flood stage by the end of the week.

The Rock River at Dixon was at 13.6 feet Wednesday afternoon. It was expected to rise to flood stage, which is 16 feet, by Friday afternoon and peak at 16.6 feet by Saturday afternoon. It is expected to recede to below flood stage by Monday.

The Rock River near Sterling was at 8.4 feet Wednesday afternoon. It was expected to rise to flood stage, which is 10 feet, by this afternoon and peak at 11.6 feet by Saturday afternoon. It is expected to recede to below flood stage by mid-next week.

Lalley encouraged those who live near the river to keep an eye on the water level and take precautions to protect their homes, if necessary. He also reminded all homeowners to check on their sump pumps to ensure they are working properly.

The forecast

More showers and thunderstorms are predicted for today with a high in the mid-60s and a low in the upper 30s. Some precipitation is expected Friday with a high in the lower 40s and a low around 30.

It will be mostly sunny with a high near 50 on Saturday and partly cloudy with a low in the mid-30s on Saturday night. Sunday's forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies and a chance of showers, with a high in the upper 50s and a low in the mid-40s.

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