News Local/State

Freezing Temperatures Replacing Rain As Flooding Continues

A flooded area just north of Villa Grove, along Route 130.

A flooded area just north of Villa Grove, along Route 130. Photo Credit: Andrew Pritchard/SkyDrama.Net

Champaign County Highway crews were out on the roads Wednesday morning, checking for slick spots and spreading salts, as the rainy weather was replaced by freezing temperatures.

Flooding still persists in many parts of Illinois, with several roads closed and moderate flooding at the Vermilion River near Danville and the Sangamon River at Monticello.

The Vermilion’s level near Danville was at 26.6 feet Tuesday night, enough to cause flooding downstream in Indiana. The National Weather Forecast says the river level will continue rising Wednesday, but fall below flood stage on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the waters of the Sangamon at Monticello have started to fall, and should go below flood stage by early Sunday morning.

But in the Iroquois County city of Watseka, which has seen its share of flooded roads the last few years, as many as 50 people were forced from their homes this week.

Fire Chief Dave Mayotte, who’s helped move residents to a local church, says conditions on the city’s north side are similar to last July, when about 400 were forced to evacuate after heavy rains.

He says many of those staying at Trinity Church’s emergency shelter also don't have power in their homes.

“We’ve had no emergency evacuations or anything like that, we’re just being cold," he said.  "The water’s filling up around people’s houses, filling their basements, and they have no heat.  That’s probably the biggest reason for the evacuation.”

Flood warnings have been issued for the Iroquois River in the community of Iroquois, as well as at the Sugar Creek at Milford.  Both are over flood stage.

Mayotte says anyone attempting to drive in Watseka now really needs to know their way around to avoid flooded streets.

Twelve Counties Named State Disaster Areas

Governor Bruce Rauner has added five more counties to the list of those declared state disaster areas.  On Wednesday, he added Douglas County, as well as Alexander, Christian, Clinton, and Morgan Counties.

A day earlier, he declared seven Illinois counties on the Mississippi River disaster areas, to ensure communities there get continued state support to cope with flooding.

Those affected counties are Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair.

Rainfall in those counties averaged about seven inches from December 23rd to the 28th. 

Road Closures

Road closures still in effect include:

Illinois Route 17 at the Reading underpass in Livingston County;

The West intersection of US Route 24 and Illinois Route 1 in Iroquois County.

US-24, 0.25 mi. west of Sugar Creek at CR 1955 East in Iroquois County.

Illinois Route 1 between Pleasant St. & Iroquois St. in Watseka.

Bongard Road, in and around Bongard Station in Champaign County, running east from Illinois Route 130.

UPDATE: Illinois Route 130 in Villa Grove is now open, according to IDOT.

UPDATE: Champaign County road 2000 North remains closed between County Road 150 East and Spring Lake Road in Mahomet.

UPDATE: Main Street in Sidney, also known as County Road 1000 North, has reopened, according to the Champaign County Emergency Management Association.

Two Dead in Christian County Flooding

Two central Illinois residents have drowned in floodwaters, raising the state’s death toll since the weekend to seven.

Christian County officials say a man and a woman were found Tuesday morning in flood waters about six miles east of Edinburg. Officials say it appears they were trying to cross a flooded area. Police used cellphone location services to find them, but their minivan is still missing.

Several Homes Damaged In Christian County Town

Leaders in the central Illinois village of Kincaid say flood waters have significantly damaged 30 to 40 homes.  

Kincaid Village Foreman Pat Durbin tells the Taylorville Daily Breeze-Courier that most of the water in the area is more than 8 feet deep.  

The National Weather Service says the three-day rain total in Kincaid was more than 6 inches as of Wednesday morning.  

Durbin says most residents in the affected area left and he isn't aware of any injuries. He says authorities went door-to-door and "got everybody out that we could.''  

Christian County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Crews says an American Red Cross temporary shelter is available at a high school.  

Kincaid is about 25 miles southeast of Springfield and near the South Fork River.