KANKAKEE — As moderate to heavy rains in the forecast could drench the area starting later today (Friday) through Saturday, the National Weather Service has the area under a number of flood warnings through Thursday.
NWS meteorologists are predicting 2 to 4 inches of rain for the area, which might lead to flooding of the Kankakee and Iroquois rivers. The heavy rain totals and rainfall rates may also cause flooding in poor drainage areas, creeks, tributaries and small streams as well.
The warning area includes Kankakee, Iroquois, Will, Grundy and Ford counties in Illinois and five counties in northwest Indiana, including Newton County.
Kankakee County Emergency Management Agency Director Andy Bayston remains in contact with the National Weather Service and will continue to monitor the weather and update the community, as needed, according to a post on Facebook from the Kankakee County Sheriff's Department. The EMA has prepared sandbags for anyone in need "The sandbags are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Anyone that retrieves bags must load them themselves. They are located on the south side of the Jerome Combs Detention Center (3000 South Justice Way, Kankakee)."
According to the NWS, moderate to heavy rain will continue into Saturday morning before becoming more periodic and eventually changing over to wintry precipitation Saturday afternoon or evening.
Current forecasts predict less than an inch of snow accumulation for Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford counties and 1 to 2 inches for areas north and west, including Will and Grundy counties.
The forecast calls for snow to start around 6 p.m. Saturday and taper off by 6 a.m. Sunday.
"If you come across a flooded road, turn around and don't drown," read an Iroquois County EMA Facebook post. "Take this seriously folks, you don't want to be the person the fire department has to come rescue. There is no evacuation notice currently. However, if you live in a flood-prone area, make arrangements should the worst happen."
Milford and Iroquois County EMA will be monitoring the situation over the weekend, reporting that "As forecasts are updated and we observe how much precipitation we actually get, we will be keeping the public informed."
Watseka has been hit hard by recent floods that affect its north and west sides where Sugar Creek drains in the Iroquois River.
The river gauge for the Iroquois River in the tvillage of Iroquois measured the river at 7.7 feet Friday morning. Flood stage there is 18 feet.
Friday morning's gauge reading at Sugar Creek read 3.7 feet, with its flood stage set at 18 feet.
The NWS forecast levels to start quickly rising around 7 a.m. Saturday then reaching and possibly exceeding flood stage by Sunday morning. Levels are currently forecast to start receding late Sunday or Monday.
Momence Fire Chief Jim Spoon said today that there were no problem areas along the Kankakee River at Momence, where the NWS gauge reading was 2.7 feet this morning. Flood stage is 5 feet.