Warmer weather + melting snow = flooding fears

By Alex Davis | adavis@wcia.com

Published 01/10 2014 04:03PM

Updated 01/10 2014 05:25PM

LINCOLN -- Folks throughout Central Illinois are still cleaning up after a cold blast pummeled their homes with snow. Now, they could be up against another weather battle.

All the slush and water needs to go somewhere. Some homeowners fear it could flood their backyards or basements. WCIA-3's Alex Davis finds out why they're worried.

Many would agree higher temperatures are a good thing since it's much more comfortable. But, some homeowners near a branch notorious for flooding, are worried it could happen well before spring.

It's been a tough week for Tony Lucas. Like many here, he's weathered a heavy snowfall and cold blast this week. Now, with Friday's rain, he's facing a new challenge.

"With the weather the way it is right now, it's going to get bad."

Lucas and his family life in a flood plain. Over the years, they've had frequent run-ins with flooding.

"The water's gotten up pretty high."

With rising temperatures this weekend, the melting snow could only pile onto his worries.

"I get really nervous, especially with the heavy rainfall and with all the snow we got, and it's raining right now. Yeah, it makes me a little nervous."

But, on top of it all, a power outage Friday knocked out electricity for a third of the city including Lucas' home. It could keep his sump pump from saving his basement if things go awry.

"Nobody wants the flooding around here at all. Once it starts going, it rises pretty quick."

Darren Forgy, with Prairie Engineers, says the branch collects some 25% of the city's storm water runoff.

"There are several houses over there that flood on a regular basis that are within the 100-year flood plain."

But, the area floods much more frequently than 100-years, just not usually during the winter months.

"There's a lot more precipitation, generally in the spring and that's when the flooding occurs, although it can occur any time of the year depending on the storm event we have."

Forgy says the majority of the city's storm water runoff flows into Salt Creek, but there isn't a residential area surrounding it.

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