Battle to hold back rivers continues

4:30 PM, Apr 23, 2013   |    comments
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CLARKSVILLE, Missouri - Communities in Illinois and Missouri today are fighting to hold back rivers that are swollen from days of drenching rain. And an approaching storm system is threatening to bring new downpours.

Floodwaters are rising to record levels along the Illinois River in central Illinois. Roads and buildings are flooded and riverfront structures have been inundated in the community of Peoria Heights.

Firefighters are worried that if fuel from businesses and vehicles starts to leak, it could spark a fire in areas that could be reached only by boat.

In the nearby community of Chiillicothe, more than 400 homes have been affected by the flood. A county emergency official says many homes have been evacuated, but those whose owners had their buildings lifted over the years because of flooding have chosen to stay put.

In the Missouri hamlet of Clarksville, officials are optimistic that days of sandbagging will hold back the Mississippi river. Crews built a second wall of dirt and sandbags behind the original barrier -- and by this morning, calm was restored. The Mississippi appears to be slowly receding from the community 70 miles north of St. Louis.

The Associated Press

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