Rain keeps adding to Midwest flood woes
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill. — More rain on Tuesday was the last thing flood fighters across the Midwest wanted to see, adding more water to swollen rivers now expected to remain high into next month.
Floodwaters were rising to record levels along the Illinois River in central Illinois. In Missouri, six small levees north of St. Louis were overtopped by the surging Mississippi River, though mostly farmland was affected.
The Mississippi and Illinois rivers have crested in some places, but that doesn't mean the danger is over. The National Weather Service predicts a very slow descent, thanks in part to the additional rain expected to amount to an inch or so across several Midwestern states.
“The longer the crest, definitely, the more strain there is on the levee,” said Mike Petersen, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis.
The biggest problem areas were in Illinois, on the Illinois River. In Peoria Heights, population 6,700, roads and buildings were flooded and riverfront structures were inundated. Firefighters feared that if fuel from businesses and vehicles starts to leak, it could spark a fire in areas that could be reached only by boat.
“That's our nightmare: A building burns and we can't get to it,” said Peoria Heights fire Chief Greg Walters. “These are combustible buildings and we have no access to them simply because of the flooding.”
About 20 to 30 homes and businesses near the river have been evacuated, he said.
Among those still in their homes was Mark Reatherford, a 52-year-old unemployed baker. He's lived for decades in the same split-level home with a gorgeous view: a small park between him and the Illinois River.
As a chilly rain continued falling, the river had rolled over the park and made it to Reatherford's home, making a 3-foot-deep mess in the basement. Reatherford had cleared out the basement furniture and was hopeful the main floor would stay dry.
Now, he's considering moving.
“You can't get a better view than what we've got here,” he said. “The sun comes up over the river, moon comes up ... and now you've got this. I'm getting too old to deal with this.”
In downtown Peoria, thousands of white and yellow sandbags stacked 3 feet high lined blocks of the city's scenic riverfront, holding back floodwaters that already had surrounded the visitors' center and the 114-year-old former train depot that lately has housed restaurants. Across the street, smaller sandbag walls blocked off riverside pedestrian access to Caterpillar's headquarters and the city's museum.
Meanwhile, shipping resumed Tuesday on a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi near St. Louis as the Coast Guard determined that 11 barges that sank last weekend are not a hazard to navigation.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Attack cat to receive medical treatment, therapy
- House pushes for data about GM defect
- General gets OK to pursue plea deal
- Prostitution found to have vast economic impact
- Senator: CIA improperly searched computer network
- Nominee to head NSA leery of delays inherent in 3rd-party collection of telephone data
- Mo. man freedin editor’sdeath sues for $100M
- Lerner emails looked for way out of difficulties at the IRS
- Wiretaps to be included in Blagojevich appeal
- Floodwaters fall in Montana, Wyoming
- NTSB chair Hersman steps down