Governor J.B. Pritzker is calling in more reinforcements to help fight flooding.
Last week, the governor activated 200 National Guard soldiers for the effort. On Tuesday in the town of Winchester, he announced 200 more are on the way.
“We want to make sure we’re fighting this everywhere we can. We’ve got levees that haven’t been breached and we’re doing everything we can to shore up and some that have been breached and we just want to make sure there are no life-safety issues,” he said.
But some levees are already failing, including one along the Illinois River near Hardin that forced the closure of a highway.
This has turned into a major flood event with crests nearing all time levels. The guard and other volunteers are trying to help with levees, sandbagging and keep emergency evacuation routes open, with a main focus on southwest Illinois.
Alicia Tate-Nadeu is Acting Director of the state’s Emergency Management Agency. When asked to compare this latest round of flooding to the devastation in 1993, she pointed to the continuous rain which has raised river levels and snowmelt up north that has kept levees saturated.
There’s growing concern about what will happen as the near record crests continue south to where the Illinois meets the Mississippi River at Grafton.
“The crests we are talking about now are not just going to crest and immediately go down. They are going to continue to stay there because we have both the Mississippi and Illinois that are converging and full of water,“ she added.