Some in Alexander County leave homes for voluntary evacuation

Near-record water levels on the Mississippi River are forcing people in Alexander County to leave their homes.

Driving through the county, there is no shortage of people out filling up sandbags to protect homes in the area.

"Nobody wants to be out here. It’s cold. I mean, it’s cold as the sand bags are heavy," said Troy Wilburn, who lives in Miller City.

Yet about a dozen people were crowded outside of Wilburn’s nephew’s house filling sandbags.

"There’s friends, family, everybody’s here," Wilburn said.

Wilburn hopes his nephews house doesn’t get caught in flood waters like his Miller City home did days ago.

"You don’t expect to see it just happen and happen and happen," Wilburn said.

It does keep happening, because Alexander County is located between two swollen rivers. Alexander County Board Chairman Chalen Tatum says the county is doing everything it can to keep the area safe.

"The river is still rising. We’re pushing rock out of here as fast as we can," Tatum said.

Now the Illinois Department of Transportation and Pulaski County are working with Alexander County to build up the Lynn Small Levee, which protects about 1,000 people living in the area. 

"It can go from good to bad in a heart beat," Tatum said.

The area is also under a voluntary evacuation.

"We’re asking them to be alert," Tatum said. 

Wilburn and others around the community continue to fill sandbags to protect their homes.

"I don’t know. It’s just wait and see," Wilburn said.

Volunteers are still needed to help lay out sandbags and help with work out on the levee. If you’re interested in helping, all you have to do is contact the highway department at 618-776-5431.

The American Red Cross opened up the Osage Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, for temporary shelter. If anyone needs help getting there they can call the highway department or Chalen Tatum at 618-521-8102. 

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