Livingston County residents should prepare to batten down the hatches and expect quite a bit of the wet stuff this weekend. Multiple agencies, including the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service and Pontiac's own sewer department have issued warnings concerning the expected heavy rains.
    Citing the United States Geological Survey website, Jacob Kinkade, superintendent of the wastewater plant, said Pontiac could be at a major flood stage beginning Sunday.
    The NWS Lincoln office said that the heaviest rains were expected to hit Saturday night between I-55 and I-57, with some areas predicted to receive nearly seven inches of waterfall. Pontiac and its environs were pegged for 4.57 inches of rain.
    With severe weather and flash flooding predicted for large portions of Illinois through the weekend, the IEMA encouraged people to stay aware of local forecasts and be prepared to act quickly if weather warnings are issued.
    “Heavy rainfall expected through Sunday night could cause flash flooding in several areas of the state,” IEMA Director James Joseph said. “When a roadway is covered with floodwaters, it’s impossible to determine how deep the water is and whether a portion of the road has washed away. That’s why it’s so important that people remember to ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ when they encounter a flooded roadway.”
    Joseph noted 11 people lost their lives on flooded roadways that resulted from several days of heavy rainfall in late 2015. In all, 14 flood-related fatalities were recorded in 2015, the most since records have been kept, according to the National Weather Service.
    The weather was expected to be particularly dicey in central and southern Illinois over the weekend, as the IEMA predicted a threat of large hail, damaging winds and a possibility for a tornado, particularly south of I-70.
    Kinkade said that the USGS had predicted that the heavy rains would bring flooding to areas  the Vermilion River snaked through, including Pontiac. He noted that the flood staging is expected to peak at 18.2 feet by Tuesday, little more than a foot below the infamous flood of 2008.
    The wastewater plant superintendent noted that things would very likely be less severe; however, he pointed out that Chautauqua Park, the nearby Play Park and some streets could be completely inundated, especially roads south of Water Street on the eastern side of Pontiac. Kinkade also had advice for those who hoped to minimize the damage done by the predicted deluge.
    “For people who are historically susceptible to having basement backup from flood situations or to have any kind of backup in their homes, it's suggested that they remove any valuable items or furnishings from the basement in the event that there is flooding,” he said.
    Kinkade also recommended that people in flood-threatened areas check to make sure that their sump pumps were in proper working order.