Flooding Problems Continue in Illinois
By Sean Powers and Willis Kern, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Problems continue to persist following last week’s intense flooding in Illinois, which left many roads closed and homes damaged.
Along the Fox and Des Plaines Rivers, flooding has left many roads impassable. In some cases, residents are getting around in canoes.
The head of the state’s Emergency Management Agency said he is closely monitoring areas where there has been heavy flooding, like the Illinois and Rock Rivers. Jonathon Monken said he is worried about rain that may come as early as Monday evening, though it is not expected to be severe.
“We don’t expect that it’ll necessary make the crest of the rivers higher. It will definitely prologue the period of time that it reaches that crest level, but right now we don’t have any immediate life safety issues," Monken said. "There are voluntary evacuation orders that are in place. Probably the best news is the fact that we do not expect the Mississippi River to hit major flood stage level as we originally predicted.”
Last week, Villa Grove in Douglas County saw heavy damage as a result of the flooding, but Monken said at this time he doesn’t see any life-safety issues in east central Illinois.
Peoria is still waiting for the Illinois River to crest but officials say a barrier is so far holding most of the water away from downtown.
The river is expected to top out Tuesday afternoon at 30 feet. By Monday morning it already hit a record of just over 29.
City Manager Patrick Urich told The Journal Star in Peoria that a key barrier in the downtown riverfront along Water Street is so far working pretty well.
Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) said he is concerned about the ability of Peoria, Pekin and East Peoria to withstand impending flood waters. Schock said he is confident federal funds will be available once the damage is done.
"There will be federal disaster assistance because the state of Illinois has already declared state disaster areas," Schock said. "Once the flood occurs, the Illinois delegation has already signed a letter the Governor will use with all congressmen in Illinois in support of federal disaster assistance."
Schock said the situation is different in Illinois than what eastern seabord residents faced during Superstorm Sandy last fall. He said that required additional appropriations during critically-sensitive budget negotiations.
Schock helped fill sandbags in Chillicothe over the weekend. The rumored-GOP candidate for governor has nothing but praise for the way Gov. Pat Quinn has handled flooding in Illinois so far.
Gov. Pat Quinn designated dozens of counties, including Champaign and Douglas, as disaster areas.
Quinn has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with flood damage assessments in Illinois.
On Monday, he spoke in Meredosia, along the Illinois River, which has flooded to record levels. Quinn said the state is working to get federal assistance to help Illinois communities recover from last week's flooding.
"You can see how many counties in Illinois have been affected by this pervasive flood, and we're not finished yet," Quinn said. "That's why so many people are here today to try and prevent further damage."
The assessments will start next week and provide documentation for Illinois to request federal financial assistance.