Flooding Affects Villa Grove and Other Parts of Illinois
By Sean Powers and Jim Meadows, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
Emergency officials in Villa Grove are advising people not to travel to the town because of intense flooding from the Embarras River.
Some estimates on Friday morning say the deepest water in the area was at four-to-six feet.
Assistant Fire Chief Ross Elston said about 10 people have been transferred from their homes by boat, and he says rescue efforts are still underway.
“Some people are just riding it out in their homes,” said Elston. “They’ve been through this enough times and they know how high the water’s gotten before. Since it seems to have crested, there are some people who we knock on doors, and they’re like, ‘No, we’re fine.’”
Emergency shelters have been set up at Villa Grove United Methodist Church and Cornerstone Baptist Church in the Douglas County town. The Red Cross is on hand at both churches to provide assistance.
Elaine Henry is helping at Cornerstone Baptist Church, where cots, blankets, and food are available to serve as many as 200 people.
"People are without power because their houses are so flooded with water that they called Ameren, and they requested that they have their power turned off," Henry said. "The flooding is about three to four feet deep in some spots. There was a park, but the park is no longer. I would more or less call it a lake."
A turn to colder weather brought scattered snow flurries and sleet to the area.
Also around Illinois --- a flood warning is in effect until 8 PM Friday evening, for Champaign, Vermilion, Coles, Douglas, Moultrie, Cumberland, Effingham and Shelby Counties in central Illinois.
In Vermilion County, a flood warning continues until Sunday afternoon for the Vermilion River at Danville. In Piatt County, a flood warning continues until Wednesday evening for the Sangamon River at Monticello.
As many as 1,500 residents of Marseilles have been evacuated amid worries of flooding. The evacuation comes after nine barges struck a levee on the Illinois River. There is expected to be more flooding in the area, but no more evacuations are expected.
Communities all over the Chicago area remain flooded. There is extensive flooding in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood after the Chicago River overflowed. Dozens of schools in the area will remain closed today.
Thirty-eight Illinois counties --- including Champaign County --- have been declared disaster areas because of flooding.