Metro-East News

Flooding latest: Lower parts of Kaskaskia at record levels

Flooding at Mallard Lake in Pontoon Beach

Residents of the Mallard Lake mobile park cope with flooding.
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Residents of the Mallard Lake mobile park cope with flooding.

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.: Gov. Bruce Rauner will be in the metro-east region Friday to tour flood-damaged areas.

His scheduled stops:

  • 10 a.m. in Grafton, City Hall and Aerie’s Restaurant
  • 11 a.m. in Alton, tour flooded areas with mayor
  • 1 p.m. in Pontoon Beach, tour flooded areas with mayor
  • 2:30 p.m. in Prairie du Rocher, meet with local officials and tour flooded areas.
  • 2:55 p.m. in Evansville, City Hall
  • 4:15 p.m. in Chester, Randolph County Courthouse

•  •  • 

UPDATE 8:00 p.m.: Record flooding is causing oil pipeline and terminal disruptions in the region.

The rising Mississippi River has prompted Enbridge Inc. to shut down its Ozark oil pipeline, which transports oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Wood River Refinery in Roxana. Company spokesman Michael Barnes says the pipeline runs along the bottom of the river in an area stretching from West Alton, Missouri, to Hartford. Barnes says the shutdown “ensures the safety of everyone.”

Meanwhile, Kinder Morgan Inc. suspended operations at its Cahokia terminal in Sauget and its Cora terminal in Rockwood, in Randolph County, earlier this week because of flooding. Cahokia handles chemicals, coal, cement and metals while Cora handles coal and petcoke, a byproduct of oil refining.

Spokesman Richard Wheatley says the company hopes to resume operations as soon as possible once water levels recede.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 7:55 p.m.: The latest from Missouri Department of Transportation:

Two lanes of northbound I-55 are now open at the Meramec River south of I-270. Southbound I-55 remains closed at that location. The alternate route currently is Route 231 to US 61/67 to Imperial Main Street.

Interstate 44 is closed for 20 miles from Route 100 in Franklin County to I-270 in St. Louis County.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 7:25 p.m.: Lower portions of the Kaskaskia River were reaching historic levels on Thursday.

At Fayetteville, the Kaskaskia was at 397.16 feet on Thursday evening. That easily topped the previous record of 394.36 feet, set in 1993.

At New Athens, the river was at 94.66 feet. The previous record crest was 90.48 feet in 2011

At Red Bud, the river was at 392.7 feet on Thursday, approaching the record 394.3 feet set in 1993.

The high levels at the lower end of the Kaskaskia aren’t necessarily caused by what’s happening upstream. The problem is that the Kaskaskia can’t dump quickly enough into the Mississippi River, which also is at historic levels in the Chester area, where the two rivers meet.

Below the Carlyle Lake dam, the Kaskaskia was at 421.79 feet on Thursday evening. At that location, the Kaskaskia has been above 426 feet a number of times in previous years.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 7 p.m.: See a before-and-after from Laclede’s Landing of the East St. Louis riverfront. Move the slider to see the view on Monday and then on Thursday when the Mississippi River crested.

•  •  • 

UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.: In Missouri, raging water poured over sandbags at Valley Park’s sewage treatment plant on Thursday, forcing its closure and allowing raw sewage to flow into the Meramec, just it has since Monday when another wastewater plant in nearby Fenton flooded, The Associated Press reported.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 5:15 p.m. Three cats and two dogs were rescued from a Pontoon Beach mobile home park Thursday.

Illinois Angels Disaster Relief of Hamel helped residents of Lake Shore Estates retrieve pets and household items as the electricity in the mobile home park was shut off.

Household and pet supplies are being collected at the American Legion hall in Edwardsville for those and their pets who have been displaced from their homes. Local animal shelters are assisting pet owners with shelter free of charge.

On Wednesday, the group rescued 19 pets in Madison County for a two-day total of 24.

The two dogs resecued Thursday, a German boxer and a Yorkshire terrier, belong to Pamela Ackerman. The 47-year-old lives in the Lake Shore Estates mobile home park in Pontoon Beach, which is near Long Lake and where water stood 2-and-a-half to 3-feet deep.

She said she was thrilled to be reunited with her “babies.”

“This whole thing has just overwhelmed me,” she said. “I just don’t know what to think. And my daughter, just looking at her, she’s ready to start crying. I just want them in a warm place. My electricity is not on and can’t be on because it is still too deep at my house, and I’m just thankful that somebody is out there to help.”

Jenny Hays, president of the group, said the animals have been taken to foster homes and will be reunited with their owners.

“People and pets, it’s all one thing, at the end of the day,” Hays said. “Our job is to fill that gap. A lot of times, the pet organizations and the people organizations don’t connect for whatever reason. We like to make that connection.”

•  •  • 

UPDATE: 3:35 p.m. The Missouri Department of Transportation is reporting that two lanes of northbound Interstate 55 will reopen to traffic by 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Meramec River, mile marker 193. All southbound lanes will remain closed with water over the highway. The southbound lanes have high levels of water covering the road and there is no estimate yet on when that water will recede so the southbound lanes can open, according to MoDOT.

With more than 200 roads under water throughout the state, drivers are encouraged to check MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map, located at www.modot.org or call the department’s toll free number, 1-888-ASK-MODOT, to get updated information on road conditions.

•  •  • 

UPDATE: 3:30 p.m. St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency is reporting swift water moving across Emil Burgard Road in Fayetteville.

•  •  • 

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. The Illinois Department of Transportation says U.S. 50 between O’Fallon and Lebanon has reopened.

•  •  • 

UPDATE: 2:18 p.m. Madison County residents are warned that scam artists may be offering cleanup and repair services at a highly inflated rate or as fraud.

Common scams include someone who poses as a contractor, requests payment in advance and then never provides the service. Some scam artists pose as government officials and request personal information that is then used for identity theft.

“Unfortunately, after a disaster, scam artists will try to take advantage of people who are in dire need of help and want repairs made as soon as possible,” said Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan. “Elderly residents are particularly vulnerable to such scams.”

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said home repair fraud is a serious crime punishable by fines and/or prison time, depending on the amount and the age of the victim. “While there are plenty of good, professional local contractors available to repair and restore your home, it’s still important to do your homework so that you can avoid scammers and protect your most valuable investment: your home,” Gibbons said.

Madison County Sheriff John Lakin said residents should do research on any contractor before signing any documents or paying upfront for services.

In addition, Lakin said his deputies are increasing patrols in flooded areas and assisting local police departments to ensure no looting takes place while residents are evacuated.

•  •  • 

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. Most of the vehicles in the car lots on Camp Jackson Road in Cahokia were removed as water flooded in from Prairie Du Pont Creek and Harding Ditch.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: New pictures of Carlyle Lake:

 

Alan Crocker was out driving around the lake today and sent in these pictures of the High Water around Carlyle Lake.

Posted by City of Carlyle, Illinois on Thursday, December 31, 2015

•  •  • 

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: Donald and Ina Johnson returned home Thursday because they could no longer afford to stay in a motel.

“We just didn’t know what we were going to do to get through this. We were freaking out,” Ina said.

In the 10 years the Johnson’s have lived at the Mallard Lake mobile home park in Pontoon Beach, they’ve never seen anything this bad. Someone’s fishing boat is pinned against a neighbor’s fence. A children’s playset floated over sometime between Monday and Thursday but it’s gone now. A wooden pallet and an old tire washed up next to their garage.

“We had water come up to the bottom of our dock (before) but never like this, never,” Ina said.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 11:50 a.m.: Illinois Angels Disaster Relief reports it rescued 19 pets on Wednesday from flooded homes in Madison County.

Jenny Hays, president of the group, said the animals have been taken to foster homes and will be reunited with their owners.

Also, the group is organizing a donation drive for flood victims. The American Legion in Edwardsville and two area businesses will collect the donations.

Organizers are seeking winter clothing, items to care for babies, personal hygiene products and pet care items.

You can bring donations to these sites:

▪  American Legion Post 199 at 58 S. Route 157, across from Woodland Elementary School in Edwardsville. For more information about drop-off times, call 618-659-2199.

▪  Ladd Allstate Insurance at 1021 Century Drive in Edwardsville. For more information, call 618-659-2199.

▪ Wild Styles at 500 Sanders St. in Bethalto. For more information, call 618-823-0786.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 11:05 a.m.: Video shows flooded truck lot in Pontoon Beach.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 9:40 a.m.: The Associated Press reports Amtrak has suspended trains running from St. Louis to Kansas City because of flooding in Missouri.

Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said passengers with tickets on the River Runner will be bused on Thursday, though that service will bypass the two cities that are popular because of nearby wineries.

Train service from Kansas City to Jefferson City will resume Friday. People going on to St. Louis will have to ride a bus.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 9:18 a.m.: According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, crews are working to open U.S. 50 over Silver Creek southwest of Lebanon. IDOT hopes to open the roadway there by 2 p.m.

Keep up to date on road conditions in the region by checking IDOT’s emergency road closure list.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 8:35 a.m.: A water rescue is underway on Bubbles Lane just outside Fayetteville on the Kaskaskia River.

 

Fayetteville Fire, Smithton FD Boat and Mascoutah EMS responding to a water rescue on Bubbles lane. (36)

Posted by Southern Illinois Fire Incidents. on Thursday, December 31, 2015

•  •  • 

UPDATE 8:30 a.m.: Photos from Shoal Creek area outside Breese, where the creek’s crest topped a 23-foot record set in 1979:

 

Flood water at Rod and Gun Breese ill. Dec 30-2015Please Pray for these People , these people will need help for the...

Posted by Don Deiters on Wednesday, December 30, 2015
 

Flood water at Rod and Gun Breese ill. Dec 30-2015** Please Pray for these People , these people will need help for the...

Posted by Don Deiters on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

•  •  • 

UPDATE 8:10 a.m.: Drone video and photos from Mascoutah area:

 
 

Drone photos checking out the recent flooding south of Mascoutah, IL. As a life-long Mascoutah resident, we're used to...

Posted by Nathan Wambold on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

•  •  • 

UPDATE 7:30 a.m.: Gov. Bruce Rauner was scheduled to return to Springfield on Thursday evening and planned to survey flood damage in central and southern parts of the state.

Rauner’s office said the governor will spend the next several days in central and southern Illinois, where severe weather has led to flooding and seven deaths.

Rauner left the country sometime during the weekend of Dec. 19 -20 to spend the holidays with his family. He had been scheduled to return to Illinois on Sunday.

The governor has declared 12 Illinois counties disaster areas, including St. Clair, Madison, Clinton, Monroe, Jackson, Randolph and Jersey.

The Southern Illinoisan newspaper, in an editorial, took Rauner to task for not disclosing his vacation location, asking: “Who takes a two-week vacation without telling their boss how to reach them in case of an emergency?”

•  •  • 

UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: There’s more trouble in Christian County.

Authorities were searching floodwaters Thursday morning for two 18-year-olds from Taylorville.

Police say the two were last seen Monday and divers concentrated their search Wednesday near flooded areas of Sangchris Lake and Pawnee, where one of the teen’s cellphone was tracked.

Christian County emergency services director Mike Crews told the State Journal-Register that “it’s going to be difficult to find them” because the water is so high and that authorities may have to wait for it to recede.

Seven people have died in Illinois flooding since last week, including two who were located in rural Christian County Tuesday.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 7:05 a.m.: Metro service in Illinois is disrupted due to the weather conditions. According to Metro’s website, three metro-east routes are experiencing delays. They are:

#2 Cahokia

#8 Alta Sita

#13 Caseyville-Marybelle

•  •  • 

UPDATE 6:40 a.m.: While the Mississippi will crest in the immediate St. Louis/metro-east area Thursday, it won’t reach its crest downriver in Chester until Friday.

The river level at Chester as of 6 a.m. was 43.99 feet. It’s expected to crest Friday at 47.5 feet—that’s over two feet lower than what was originally predicted. Had the river reached 49.7 feet there as authorities had worried, it would have matched the record set in 1993.

Carlyle Lake also is rising. At midnight Thursday it was at 456.63 feet, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps predicts it will crest Saturday at 458.5 feet.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 6:20 a.m.: The Mississippi River will crest at Alton in the coming hours, according to the National Weather Service.

A 6 a.m. update from NWS showed the river was at 35.5 feet. It is projected to crest at 35.7 feet, well short of the 42.7-foot record crest set in 1993.

A 6 a.m. update for the river at St. Louis showed a level of 42.16 feet. The predicted crest is 42.5 feet.

•  •  • 

UPDATE 6 a.m.: Officials closed a major interstate highway south of St. Louis on Thursday morning amid historic flooding that has already left at least 20 people dead.

Interstate 55 near the town of Arnold was entirely closed early Thursday due to floodwaters from the Meramec River. The Missouri Department of Transportation authorities had already rerouted traffic Wednesday night to allow for sandbagging and pumping.

Other connections between St. Louis and adjacent counties already are closed, including I-44 over the Meramec. The closures forced traffic onto other nearby roads, creating gridlock. MoDOT suggested detours through Illinois Wednesday night but warned drivers that they could add 150 to 200 miles to the drive depending on the detour taken.

The flooding also prompted evacuations in Missouri and Illinois on Wednesday. As swollen rivers and streams pushed to heights not seen in nearly a quarter-century, officials helped residents get to higher ground amid fears that already dire conditions could worsen as floodwaters began spilling over federal levees protecting communities and farmland.

•  •  • 

Reporters Brian Brueggemann, Tobias Wall, Will Buss and the The Associated Press contributed information for this story.

Residents who need contractor services are advised to:

  • Be wary of people coming to the door without an appointment and/or claiming to offer disaster relief.
  • Request identification, especially for anyone who claims to be a government official. Government workers will always have proper identification with a name and photograph.
  • Use local and licensed contractors, and ask the contractor for a license and for local references. Get estimates from multiple contractors, and ensure they carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance and are bonded. Hiring an uninsured contractor means the homeowner could be liable for accidents.
  • Get written estimates and receives for all repair payments. Do not write any checks payable to a person instead of a company name.
  • Do not give out bank account numbers or personal information such as Social Security numbers to anyone claiming to be affiliated with a government agency or a charitable organization.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office runs a consumer fraud hotline at 800-243-0618, and complaints also can be filed online at www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. Further advice and warning signs can be found on the website.

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