From AP - News Headlines -

Cairo, Other IL River Communities Bracing for Severe Flooding

The far southern Illinois city of Cairo is giving residents the option of voluntarily leaving as the Ohio River continues to rise.

Police dispatcher Cheryl James says, as of Tuesday morning, eight families have notified police that they're clearing out. Alexander County Emergency Management Coordinator Marty Nicholson says Cairo's levee and flood wall are holding their own against a river that's expected to reach a record 61 feet on May 3. Nicholson says the concrete flood wall at Cairo can hold back water levels up to 64 feet. On Tuesday, the river already had topped 56 feet.

The Mississippi River is also the center of attention for emergency officials. Already, St. Clair, Madison, Bond, Clinton, Monroe, Randolph and Washington counties in Illinois are under a flash flood watch.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello and Republican Rep John Shimkus met Monday with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Emergency Management Agency officials.

Afterward, the lawmakers said they encouraged the corps and IEMA to work closely with local officials in coordinating plans to deal with flooding.

According to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., a storm system that blew through northeast Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas on Monday will likely move into Illinois on Tuesday. It is expected to cause substantial flooding in a corridor that runs from Illinois to Arkansas.