The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 18, 2013

Heavy rains could cause problems locally

DANVILLE — Recent wet weather is expected to culminate with some of the heaviest rains today combining with severe weather.

The National Weather Service was predicting as much as a 45 percent chance of widespread severe weather today — including the chance for tornadoes — in an area stretching from Interstate 55 at Springfield east across Vermilion County and well into Indiana.

The heaviest rain, according to Wednesday afternoon predictions, are expected to move into east central Illinois late this morning and continue into the evening hours. The could be accompanied damaging winds.

Predictions call for the Danville area to receive just less than 3 inches of rain. Overall, as much as 4 inches of rain could fall in other areas of central Illinois.

The severe weather conditions contribute to the situation already facing local emergency officials, who are watching water levels of the Vermilion, North Fork and Middle Fork rivers.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning Wednesday for the Vermilion River, which will run from late tonight through Sunday evening.

Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Fisher said Wednesday afternoon officials continue to monitor river levels and forecasts in advance of the expected storm conditions.

To prepare for flooding situations, he said Wednesday afternoon that all county boats were serviced and prepared for potential service.

Predictions are calling for the Vermilion River, which was measured at 12½ feet as of Wednesday afternoon, could reach as high as 23½ feet by Saturday afternoon, putting it in moderate flooding range. The river is predicted to drop below its minimum flood level of 18 feet by Sunday afternoon.

The North Fork River near Bismarck was measured at just above its minor flood stage of 10 feet as of Wednesday afternoon. The Middle Fork River near Oakwood was still 5 feet below its flood stage on Wednesday.

As a result of the forecast of heavy rains and already soaked soil conditions, a flash flood watch extends through Vermilion County beginning this morning and lasting through Friday morning.

According to figures from Aqua Illinois, Danville received 0.22 inches of rain from 6 p.m. Tuesday until 6 p.m. Wednesday, bringing the week’s total to 1.55 inches. So far in April, Danville has received 2.81 inches of rain.

The weather follows a similar deluge of rainfall last week in Vermilion County and central Illinois in which the county received 1.2 inches of rain in a two-day span.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued a notice Wednesday effectively shutting down the Middle Fork River from Potomac to the south boundary of Kickapoo State Park as a result of the potential flooding conditions.

The announcement came just one day after the Middle Fork had reopened from last week’s rainfall.

The wet weather might not be done yet. Another round of rainfall is forecast by the National Weather Service to move into the area next week with a chance of showers and thunderstorms Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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