Second line of storms will not cause flooding

By Gus Bode

The National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., said thunderstorms expected for the rest of the week should slow the decent of floodwaters in the area, but not increase them.

A line of thunderstorms moved into southern Illinois Wednesday evening, which is the first of a few showers expected during the rest of the week. Though much of western Jackson County surrounding the Big Muddy River remains underwater, NWS said the body of water that dumps into the Mississippi River will continue to make the move back to its banks.

Flood warnings remain in effect, but residents that voluntarily evacuated their homes last week have returned after Grand Tower Mayor Randy Ellet said the town’s 40-year-old levee would hold.


Rumors circulating that a dam on Crab Orchard Lake would be unable to hold floodwaters are untrue, said Dan Frisk with the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Reserve. He said inspectors from Washington D.C. approved the site’s capability after thorough review, and high water levels are pouring into the spillway as they should.

Frisk said the forecasted rain should not have a dramatic impact on the dam’s abilities since the lake is no longer cresting.

“We will be watching the [water] levels,” he said. “Our folks are online to monitor our gauges.”

Meanwhile, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is offering low-interest loans to flood damage victims who reside in the 19 counties Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared disaster areas last week.

Sara Wojcicki, a spokeswoman for Giannoulias, said victims unable to wait for money from insurance claims can apply for a loan provided by the Opportunity Illinois Disaster Recovery Loan program. The loans have interest rates around 4.5 percent, she said.

According to a release from Giannoulias’ office, victims may take out loans until June 14 – 90 days after the governor declared the region a disaster area.

Aside from the financial impact of a flood, the Jackson County Health Department is reminding everyone to protect themselves from diseases that may be in floodwaters. A release from the health department advised people to avoid coming in contact with the water since floods may contain fecal material from overflowing sewers, and chemicals used by farmers.


The department is also recommending rural residents to have their well water tested before normal usage.

Traffic in Carbondale and Murphysboro is no longer affected by high waters, but roads surrounding Sandridge and Grand Tower remain closed as county officials fear cars could bottom out. Roads around the City of Murphysboro’s water treatment facility remain roped off to the public, though floodwaters from the Big Muddy River are receding.

Daily Egyptian writer Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 274 or [email protected].