Cleanup underway in Alton and flooded river towns in Illinois
The Mississippi River is slowly receding and, over the weekend, should drop from major flooding stages to moderate flooding stages near the metro-east, the National Weather Forecast says.
In Grafton, where the river reaches major flooding stages at 29 feet, the level was at 27.6 feet on Saturday at 10 a.m. The town, which sits on the confluence of the three rivers, has been facing terrible flooding this year. When cleanup efforts began last week, they were put on hold by more rainfall.
“Before we considered it a nuisance. Now we’re going to lose businesses and we’re going to lose homeowners,” Mayor Rick Eberlin told the BND last week. “If it were a quick up and down like we’re used to, that would have been a different story, but this is going to adversely affect the basic structure of this town.”
The river has been in moderate flooding stages in Alton since last week, when it dropped to 32.39 feet. By Saturday morning, it was down to 31.5 feet. Major flooding stages occur at 34 feet there.
Like Alton, the river has been down at St. Louis since last week. The major flooding stage there is 40 feet and, by Saturday, the river was down just a foot and a half at 38.5 feet, but enough to be considered moderate.
In Chester, however, the Mississippi was still at major flooding stages toward the end of last week, finally dropping to 40 feet—the cut-off line for moderate versus major flooding—on Saturday morning. By Tuesday, it’s expected to be even lower, at 39.7 feet.
By July 3, the river should be in minor flooding stages in most places, with the exceptions of Grafton, where it should fall more on July 4, and Chester, where it is expected to drop to minor stages July 6.
On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a new disaster declaration for 36 counties, including St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Jersey and Randolph counties.
According to the governor’s office, as part of the state’s flood response, there has been:
- More than 5 million sandbags deployed,
- 38,000 tons of rock distributed,
- 1.2 million tons of sand distributed,
- More than 3,300 rolls of plastic distributed,
- More than 1.1 million sandbags filled by the Illinois Department of Corrections,
- 39 pumps deployed by the Illinois Department of Transportation,
- 26 pumps deployed by U.S. Army Corp of Engineers,
- 450 linear feet of heavy duty barriers installed, and
- 1,750 feet of Aquadam deployed.