Communities prepare for major flooding along the Illinois River

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Residents along the Illinois River are preparing for major flooding to occur this upcoming week, and it’s already having an impact.

Crews are preparing to start sandbagging operations as the river is on its way up.

Illinois 100 is already closed at Pearl, Illinois due to flooding.

People are on the move in Browning, Illinois as they work to get everything out of the path of the floodwater.

The river is expected to crest at 28.5 feet near Browning on Thursday, almost a week from now.

Locals said at that stage, that puts the post office at risk of being under water. That is why they have already moved to higher ground. Officials also added the fire department plans to move their fire trucks to higher ground.

Street and Alley Superintendent Rick Bollinger said he hopes his efforts of cleaning out culverts today helps keep water out of homes.

“The culverts get plugged up, then water runs over it and it starts running down the ditches they run over the sidewalks into people’s basements and flooding their basements out,” said Bollinger.

Also, the flooding is causing a challenge for local commercial fishermen.

“There’s more room for them, so they spread out, so it’s harder to catch, it’s basically the main thing,” said Homer Weishaar, fisherman and local resident. “And getting in and out of the river launching your boat. Obviously, you can’t get to the landing so you gotta do what you can, where you can.”

Locals said they are planning for Illinois 100 near Browning to be covered as the water rises. They said this will cause an extra 15 to 20 minutes for those who work out of town.

Chelsea Smith

Chelsea Smith

Meteorologist Chelsea Smith is part of the WGEM Storm Track Weather team.

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