SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated nearly 60 Illinois National Guard soldiers and ordered additional steps by the state to prepare for projected flooding along the Illinois River and other streams.
The National Weather Service forecasts the Illinois River will reach major flood stage Saturday morning at Meredosia, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Springfield, and continue to rise through the middle of next week. Without additional flood protection, water could flow over several levees and flood roads, threatening Meredosia’s 980 residents, Pritzker said.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has begun sandbagging to help communities along the river, and Pritzker has issued a state disaster proclamation for Grundy, Pike, Scott and Morgan counties. The declaration will ensure state support to communities that are shoring up local levees.
“I have directed all agencies in my administration to doing everything possible to help local communities prepare for and respond to the potential flood risks presented in the current forecast,” Pritzker said.
IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said “in the coming days, flash flooding will be a concern as we see additional precipitation fall on already saturated soils.”
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Featured image: Governor J.B. Pritzker addresses members of the audience after being sworn into office. (Photo by Vishesh Anand, Illinois Public Media via flickr.com cc 2.0)