The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

April 23, 2013

More rain expected for swollen Midwest rivers

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 that are 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 duration of the flood was becoming a concern.

"The longer the crest, definitely, the more strain there is on the levee," said Mike Petersen, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis.

The biggest problem areas were in Illinois, on the Illinois River. Roads and buildings were flooded and riverfront structures were inundated in Peoria Heights. 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.

But all things considered, Peoria Heights residents were taking the crisis in stride.

"This is a drill for them," Walters said. "We went down there Friday and Saturday as the water was rising and the neighbors were out there sandbagging like it was a normal day-to-day operation."

In nearby Chillicothe, more than 400 homes have been affected by the flood, said Vicky Turner, director of the Peoria County Emergency Management Agency. Many homes have been evacuated, but others whose owners have had their buildings raised over the years because of flooding have chosen to stay put, Turner said.

"They row back and forth ... up to the main road," she said.

In Missouri, officials in the flood-weary hamlet of Clarksville were optimistic that days of furious sandbagging would hold back the Mississippi. At times toiling in heavy rain, crews built a second wall of dirt and sandbags behind the original barrier, and by Tuesday morning calm was restored. The Mississippi appeared to be receding, ever so slowly, from the community 70 miles north of St. Louis.

"We're feeling much better," Mayor Jo Anne Smiley said. "It is amazing what you can do, and when it doesn't work you go to Plan B, Plan C or Plan D."

There were other snippets of good news elsewhere.

Lucas Schultz, the 12-year-old Smithton, Ill., boy who was rescued from the flood waters of a river in Missouri on Sunday was at home and doing fine.

Lucas was in Leadwood, Mo., trying to cross a bridge with two other boys when he fell into the Big River near a culvert pipe. He was sucked into the pipe, came out the other side and went floating down the river. Resident Robert Salsberry was able to get to him, pull him to safety and perform CPR.

"He's doing a lot better. He had some stitches and lots and lots of bumps and bruises. He got extremely lucky," Yvette Schultz, Lucas' mother, told the Park Hills (Mo.) Daily Journal.

Meanwhile, shipping resumed Tuesday along a 15-mile stretch of the Mississippi near St. Louis after the U.S. Coast Guard determined that 11 barges that sank last weekend were not a hazard to navigation.

Investigators were trying to determine what caused 114 barges to break loose in St. Louis County. Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty said drifting debris that can collect under docked barges may have weighed on the fleet and the lines that secured them to shore.

The Mississippi River crest was still a couple of days away in Dutchtown, Mo., a town of about 100 residents 110 miles south of St. Louis. Town clerk and emergency management director Doyle Parmer said about three dozen members of the Missouri National Guard were helping residents sandbag. He was confident the few homes and businesses would remain dry.

In St. Louis, crews scrambled to stem the flow of millions of gallons of raw sewage that has been pouring into the river since two of three pumps failed at a treatment plant two days earlier.

The plant processes some 110 million gallons of sewage a day; about half of that was being discharged into the river untreated. Many communities downriver draw their drinking water from the Mississippi.

Lance LeComb, a Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District spokesman, said it was unclear how quickly the pumps would be fixed or replaced, but he said the fast-flowing river was diluting the spilled sewage.

In Indiana, flood gates were installed to try and keep the flooding Wabash River from the state's oldest town, Vincennes. Some strategic spots were also being reinforced with sandbags.

The National Weather Service projected a crest on Saturday about 12 feet above flood stage, the highest reading on nearly 70 years at Vincennes, founded in 1732.

In Saginaw County, Mich., water topped the dyke at Misteguay Creek in Spaulding Township. Businesses and homes were flooded along the Tittabawassee River, a Saginaw River tributary. Part of Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge also was under water.

 

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • NWS - HB0408 - Crash Sperrys 2 Family, friends bid farewell to Jesse Sperry

    The fussing of 10-day-old Autumn Marie Sperry seemed to coincide with the beginning of the funeral service for her father, Jesse Sperry, whose lifeless body rested just a few feet away. More than 200 friends and family members gathered at Edgewood Baptist Church this afternoon to pay their respects to Jesse, who was killed April 6 in a traffic accident on West Indiana 32.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_malaysiaplanesearch.jpg Sub makes second dive to search for Malaysian plane

    As a robotic submarine dived into the ocean to look for lost Flight 370, angry Chinese relatives stormed out of a teleconference meeting Wednesday to protest the Malaysian government for not addressing them in person.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 APTOPIX Police Conver_Unde-1.jpg Feds: Boston bombing suspect not entitled to '11 murder file

    Federal prosecutors have told a judge they have no evidence that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev knew about his brother's alleged role in a triple slaying in Waltham two years before the bombings.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine

    Authorities say a toddler has been reunited with his mother after employees found him playing inside a claw crane machine at a Nebraska bowling alley.

    April 16, 2014

  • Boston police safely blow up suspicious backpacks

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014

  • 292 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    A ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

    April 16, 2014

  • Leaders await decision on Indiana Plan expansion

    Two of the state's top Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they would like to see the federal government sign off on an expansion of Medicaid through the state's health care plan for low-income residents, but they added that they have little idea how soon that could happen.

    April 16, 2014

  • Former Indy radio personality accused of defrauding family members in Madison County A former Indianapolis radio personality was arrested Monday, suspected of stealing the identities of four Madison County family members over a four-year span.

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: GPS helped solve, didn't deter killings

    GPS technology helped police link two convicted sex offenders to the rapes and killings of at least four women in California, but the mother of one victim said Tuesday that the monitoring system should have done more to prevent the crimes in the first place.

    April 15, 2014

  • GM sales eyed for impact of ignition switch recall

    As General Motors shows off its newest cars and trucks in New York this week, analysts are watching for signs that consumers are shying away from the ones sitting on dealer lots.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

How often would you ride an express bus to Indianapolis?

Every work day
Once or twice a week
Occasionally
I'll stick to driving my car, thank you
     View Results