As of noon we are 13.23 feet and falling. Our record was 13.51 feet--almost 6 inches above the previous record from 1916. Much of the standing water has developed into pools of swamp life, and has the matching smell. At the waterline's edge are enormous amounts of insects. While walking, I could hear a steady "buzzing" sound from all their wings. If I stopped for a few seconds, the sound would disappear, but as soon as I moved they all took flight again and the sound returned. The once flooded areas are a bit of a mess. The grass is colored white with what I assume to be silt. A lot of debris marks were water once was and cleanup from this ordeal should be a lot of fun.
The Red Cross has been coming by lately to deliver food and water. Today they dropped off two palettes of food and water. The river crested on Friday and just started it's retreat. We have been warned not to drink our well water, so the canned water is quite helpful. Our house doesn't really need the food--our natural gas is still on and we're able to cook just fine. Some others down the street are not so lucky. Since we had dark clouds overhead, I got out some plastic and covered the donations. Then, Noah and I broke out our spray painting skills and made a sign to let everyone know it was for them.
Tonight was the first night of rehearsal for U-Rock's production of Macbeth Did It. I will be stage managing the show--my first show as stage manager. There isn't much of a set and the lighting setup shouldn't take too long, so I asked for the stage manager position.
After class I took a tour of the south side of Janesville with Tazz to look at the flood damage. We started at Rotary Gardens, which had a fair bit of flooding. The bridgers were closed and several paths by the logoon. Some of the rock gardens were underwater as well. But it almost looked like the water belonged there. Tazz and I traveled Palmer Dr to Beloit Ave and to the intersection of Beloit Ave and Delavan Dr. This intersection was completely under water--about 8 inches of it. We traveled up Delavan Dr to 51 with not too much flooding after the intersection. From 51 we crossed the river and survayed the Monterey Dam and park. It was mostly inaccessable. The waters covered Riverside St. shortly after the railroad bridge and had most of the VanGualder bus station parking lot submurged. Large quanties of water were flowing through this area and a fairly quick speed. We went back to Montery Park and I traveled around the bike path--most of which was covered in abour 3 inches of water. From there, we headed up Rockport Rd, Racine and back to Beloit Ave. Pictured is Tazz traveling through the intersection of Beloit Ave and Delavan Dr.
I took a tour of Riverside Park in downtown Beloit. Turtle Island--a pirate ship play area--was actually an island (it's normally an isthmus) and completely unaccessable due to the flood waters. A fair bit of the park's paths were underwater and many of the benches. The downtown area of Beloit around 4th street was sandbagged, but looked pretty safe from flood waters. A section of 4th street was closed by the high school, water covering the road.
I took a tour of some of the flooding in downtown Janesville. I had to go there to drop off a water sample for testing anyway (then found out I can't drop it off on Friday). Downtown had some pretty serious flooding. The buildings close to the dam on Main St. I had expected to see in trouble--they were threatened in late May. The flooding along those buildings was so bad they had given up pumping. What was unexpected was to see that the river had risen high enough to use Main Street itself as a channel. Water come in just north of Centerway (Hwy 51), crossed Hwy 51 (thus blocking it) and flowed for an other block before a sandbag dike diverted it back into the river. The water was moving quite fast through this channel. We had seen large fish (carp mostly) hanging out in the flooded areas in our neighborhood. Downtown Janesville had several areas with a huge number of fish concentrated in the slower moving water. The current in the river itself was very high--presumably because the waters are so channeled in this area. If the water had risen any higher, the bridge/parking lot by Court St. would have had no gap underneath it. As it was, both sides did not have a gap--just the center. I assume this would have acted like a dam, causing the waters to rise over the parking area. That doesn't look likely to happen. After survaying downtown, I went north and walked across the Memorial St. bridge. Looking south I could see where Traxler Park was suppose to be located, but it was completely submerged. The entire park was underwater, some of Hwy 51 and three of the four ramps from Memorial to Hwy 51 were closed. After I had crossed the bridge and was along Hwy 51, it had begun to rain--fairly heavy. The thunderstorm came in quick and I hoped it would leave just as quickly. It did now and despite waiting 20 minutes under the bridge, I ended up getting quite went on the walk back to my truck. Twice in my walk I saw two military helecopters flow overhead. I can only assume this was the national guard survaying the flooding from the air. I've read the flooding in the Midwest is the worst since 1993, but in the Janesville/Beloit area, this is the worst flooding we have ever had. Some elderly ladys in Janesville I spoke to had lived in town their entire lives and had never seen the river like this. I'm not sure what the record depth for downtown Janesville is, but the river between Afton and Indianford are both at record levels (Indianford at over 18.32 feet--two feet above the record) I know the river had hit record levels there. The river by Lake Koshkonong broke the record by almost 3 feet--a record set in 1993, which was only 7 inches above the previous record. Fort Atkinson destroyed their previous record of 7.3 feet set earlyer this year with a wopping 18.2 feet (and climbing). All of Fort Atkinson's record highs have been since 2000. Every measuring point in the Rock River north of Beloit, without exception, has a new record. Pictured is the corner of Pease Ct. (bottom) and Main St. There is heavy water flow down Main St. at this intersection. The sandbags in the picture are protected this busneiss as water leaking in is being pumped out. This wall is holding back several inches of moving water.
The water peek is suppose to happen soon and we're pretty close. The predicted crest is now 13.5 feet, and at noon we were at 13.4--only 1.2 inches of rise left. Tomorrow through Sunday the waters are suppose to pretty much stay were they are and by Monday be on the retreat. The Garage sits above water right now and I'm happy with that. Only a few people in our neighborhood have water problems. Several people have water in their yards, but only a couple will have had water high enough to get into their house. Bug are a problem right now... we have tons of them. With all the standing water, I imagine it's going to get worse.