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home : news : north central illinois   August 1, 2014

4/18/2013 11:25:00 AM
Rain forcing closures, evacuations, mudslide (slideshow)


An emergency personnel worker directs traffic at the north end of Tonica on Route 251 this morning. Tonica had more than 5 inches of rain since midnight, forcing Bailey Creek to overflow.NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
+ click to enlarge
An emergency personnel worker directs traffic at the north end of Tonica on Route 251 this morning. Tonica had more than 5 inches of rain since midnight, forcing Bailey Creek to overflow.

NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
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Flooding in the Illinois Valley on April 18, 2013.
Governor declares state of emergency
Gov. Pat Quinn today declared a state of emergency as state agencies prepared to provide assistance to local governments throughout the northern half of Illinois dealing with severe river and flash flooding.

The state of emergency ensures that state resources are activated and that the federal government is aware that a disaster declaration is likely. It also allows the state to request resources as needed, such as personnel and equipment. State and local emergency personnel have been on the ground in hardest hit areas since early this morning. 

NT Staff




More than 5 inches of rain since midnight today caused flash flooding, some evacuations including part of Utica and some rural homes in Putnam and Marshall counties, impassable sections of roads and more problems throughout the Illinois Valley.
At 6 a.m., after heavy downpours, fire departments and rescue crews from throughout the area were assisting motorists and residents in their communities.
“There’s flooding everywhere so people need to be careful,” a La Salle County sheriff’s dispatcher replied to the NewsTribune at 6:15 a.m.
Most of the flooding early this morning was from inundated fields, field tiles, ditches and drains overflowing, with water flooding over the roads. Route 71 west of Oglesby had flooding; Dee Bennett Road was closed.
Route 18 between Lostant and Streator was flooded in most low spots, and deputies had been checking on stranded motorists and assisting them. The Jack Dougherty Road near Grand Ridge also had flooded spots, but the La Salle County dispatcher said many of the secondary and gravel roads would be flooded as well.
As of 10 a.m., 500 yards of Route 18 near Magnolia was covered by floodwaters from Little Sandy Creek. At the intersection of routes 18 and 89 Magnolia firefighters were directing traffic away from eastbound Route 18.
By this afternoon, Putnam County Sheriff Kevin Doyle said Route 89 road from Spring Valley into Putnam County will remained closed due to mudslides and falling trees.
An end loader from Mid-American Growers in Granville was called to assist. Doyle said Spring Valley police and his deputy worked to clear the road of traffic as they tried to keep the hillside from collapsing. Illinois Department of Transportation and Standard Fire  also responded. They were able to temporarily stabilize the hill, but still parts continue to wash over the roadway, Doyle said.
“They can’t seem to get it to stop washing,” said Doyle.
La Salle County officials said Route 71 near Deer Park Country Club was underwater. Route 71 closed from Route 178 to Ottawa. Dee Bennett was closed. Utica has triage set up to evacuate people. The intersection of U.S. 6 and Route 178 in Utica was underwater.
Also, U.S. 6 in Ottawa from Sam’s Pizza and two blocks west had water on the roadway.
County officials said Fox River had raging water on the road at U.S. 6 at the Fox River bridge. Also, Green Street in Ottawa closed.
Peru police said the following roads were closed or flooded: Plank Road near Leone’s grain, Park Road in front of Washington School, Progress Boulevard near 38th Street, and Shooting Park Road from Church Street west to Dalzell Road.

On the web
NewsTribune followers on Facebook spoke of a variety of problems this morning:
- Brittney Drabik: “Flooding from the creek in Cherry as well. Lost power for a couple hours, now over a foot of water in our basement.”
- Justine Marion: “The flash flood troubled my basement. I’ve been pushing water into the drain since 330 this morning. Worst day ever.”
- Patricia Hofmann: “Flooding in our basement south of Lostant and at son’s home in Minonk. He said Fieldcrest schools are closed.”

Mendota viaducts
Mendota’s viaducts filled with water and First Avenue was nearly indistinguishable from the creek that runs alongside it. Low spots throughout town were filling with water as rain continues to fall.
Volunteers with the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network reported as much as 5.85 inches in Tonica this morning and 4.9 inches in Mendota, and as high as 7.18 inches in Princeton over a 24 hour period. Illinois Valley Regional Airport recorded 4.21 inches since midnight.
 Flooded basements had residents out looking for sump pumps and parts shortly after 6:30 a.m. when Rick White, owner of Mendota True Value had someone knocking on the door of his house. Stephenitch Do-It-Best Hardware in Mendota started just before 8 a.m. and the man who answered the phone was too busy to talk.
“I’m gonna have to let you go, I’ve got people lined up like crazy,” he said.

Creeks over road
In Putnam County, a deputy reported just about every road with a creek under it had a creek over it, as of 6:30 a.m. Many residents were likely to miss work today because of impassable country roads. As of 7 a.m., Sandy Creek was nearly reaching the bridge deck near the routes 18 and 89 intersection near Magnolia.
All Forks Creek had completely flooded one of the country roads, with Standard fire chief Mike Skowera telling AM-1220 WLPO’s Rod Thorson he didn’t know if that road was not was not washed out. He said Route 71 between Route 89 and Standard was flooded and still passable, at least by vehicles with high clearance at 6 a.m.
Skowera’s department was busy assisting at numerous emergencies throughout Putnam County.
“We haven’t stopped since probably 4:15 this morning,” he said.
Their morning started with a structure fire that began in a furnace in Standard and continued with a number of smoke investigations in buildings in Granville and Standard.
They later rescued an adult man and woman and a child by airboat from a flooded home on Old Stage Coach Road.
The Standard airboat was called again shortly after that to two more emergencies, including one in Marshal County.
During these calls, Granville and Standard lost power for a short time.
“It’s just a mess,” Skowera said.
The Little Sandy Creek was nearly cresting its banks in that area at 8:30 a.m.

Lostant mudding
Lostant fire chief Andy Forrest said he got called in early to work for the highway department, but noticed many Lostant streets flooded and water near houses in Lostant early in the morning. He said he was assigned to work near the Putnam-La Salle County line this morning, where plows were used to push mud and debris off roads and where county workers were putting up barricades in places. He said most of the rural roads had water on them before 8 a.m. today.

Boat evacuations
Peru Rescue Station, which has a number of boats available, was called to assist Utica Fire Department with evacuation of the mobile home park northeast of the downtown along Clark’s Run. The fire chief there had asked (see accompanying story) for evacuation of low-lying areas north of Church Street near Route 178 as well.
At the La Salle-Peru boundary, police were asking for barricades due to flooding on Brunner Street, which connects First Street in La Salle and Water Street in Peru.
In Peru, Progress Boulevard was closed near 38th Street due to flooding. The high water table north of Shooting Park Road was sure to be a problem today in Peru, and Shooting Park Road west of Church Street in Peru was lined with standing water south of the airport and above the Sycamore Lakes subdivision.
In Marshall County, boats were requested in the Varna area where some morning commuters were unable to go home or to work due to flooding ahead of and behind them. Marshall County also requested mutual aid on various flooding-related issues.

In Mendota
Mendota’s viaducts filled with water and First Avenue was nearly indistinguishable from the creek that runs alongside it. Low spots throughout town were filling with water as rain continues to fall.
 Volunteers with the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network reported as much as 5.85 inches in Tonica this morning and 4.9 inches in Mendota over a 24 hour period.
 Flooded basements had residents out looking for sump pumps and parts shortly after 6:30 a.m. when Rick White, owner of Mendota True Value had someone knocking on the door of his house. Stephenitch Do-It-Best Hardware in Mendota started just before 8 a.m. and the man who answered the phone was too busy to talk.
 “I’m gonna have to let you go, I’ve got people lined up like crazy,” he said.

Heavy snow out west
 Railroad passengers may experience some delays today due to severe weather and local flooding according to Mendota station master Ed Bock. He said trains from San Francisco to Chicago are experiencing heavy snows out west while local service this morning from Quincy to Chicago was delayed by 35 minutes.
 “They’re slowed down since they have to check the track for washouts,” he said. “So far it’s not too bad.”

Pumping water
State police District 17 spokesman Craig Graham said there are holes at mileposts 71 and 72 on Interstate 39 south of Mendota and on Interstate 80 at mileposts 72 and 73 between Ladd and Peru. Illinois Department of Transportation is trying to pump water off the road.
Graham also said that on county roads, water was coming up so fast they couldn’t keep up with where roads are flooding and where they are not.

Princeton flooded
In Princeton, rain was tapering off after Wednesday’s big storm and Princeton is seeing the effects of that deluge.
Many of the cities streets are flooding due to overflow from the drains and roadside ditches are flooded almost to road level outside city limits.
Princeton fire chief Chuck Woolley said there has been “a considerable amount of water damage to homes” as of this morning. “We’re still working on the final numbers, but it will probably get worse before it gets better.”

Rural flooding
Marshall County Sheriff Rob Russell said major roads in the county experiencing the most problems with flooding and rain is Route 17, leading up to the Lacon bridge and several flooded spots in Sparland.
He said route 17 from Lacon to Wenona was a one lane due to flooding, but the road was not closed. During an 8 a.m. interview, Russell said Route 29 was drivable and conditions on the Henry bridge were also drivable.
The NewTribune was receiving reports of flooding near homes in Varna and stranded motorists. Russell said firefighters helped the family evacuate.

NewsTribune staff Craig Sterrett, Jeff Dankert, Lee Strubinger, Tamara Abbey, and Kevin Caufield contributed to this report.








Related Stories:
• Flash flooding saturates region (Video and Slideshow)
• Illinois River projected to shatter flood record
• 'Say a prayer for us': Another disaster on way for Utica? (video)





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