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Hazardous ice, waters force closures in Dixon

February 8, 2019

DIXON – What snow once covered, and ice now is covering, now is in danger of being blanketed by water as a result of the recent cold spell and fluctuating temperatures.

Lowell Park was closed today due to safety concerns, Dixon Park District Maintenance Director Dave Shank said. Whether it will be closed Friday will be determined in the morning.

In addition to making the park’s inclines treacherous, ice is adding weight to trees. Shank said one giant branch fell near the entrance as he was locking up the gate.

“I don’t think it’s safe for people to be there,” he said. “Branches are breaking and falling off of trees.”

Lee County Emergency Management also closed Lincoln Statue Drive in front of Dixon High School because of the rising river. Those attending activities at the school are asked to use the rear entrances and parking lot. 

Ice jams on the Rock River have caused waters to rise, and pose a threat to river fronts at Lowell and Page parks. 

The National Weather Service gauge at the Peoria Avenue Bridge reported a 4-inch increase at 2 p.m. today, now at 17.66 feet. The predicted crest is 17.8 feet Saturday night, which is 4 inches shy of moderate flood stage.

The Rock already has flooded the eastern part of Page Park, from the bandshell to the stone bridge over the former lagoon. The park remains open from the tennis courts at Palmyra Avenue to the boat docks.

Park for Paws dog park on Washington Avenue, owned by the park district, also is closed because of icy conditions on its access road.

A flood warning remains in effect on the Rock River from Machesney Park to Rock Island until further notice. Melting and refreezing of blocks can fluctuate river levels by 1-2 feet, and forecasts change based on daily readings. 

The river in Byron saw little change overnight, remaining in minor flood stage at 13.05 feet with a forecasted crest of 13.6 feet by Friday night. Little change also was reported in Como, at 10.03 feet and well below minor flood stage.

Prophetstown State Park is about a foot under water and is closed.

Downstream, at Joslin, the river is close to reaching the major flood stage threshold of 16.5 feet; it sits at 15.68 as of 2 p.m. with an estimated high forecasted at 16.2 feet by Saturday night. 

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