Rain means more flooding for southern Illinois

Storms continue to bring more rain to areas of southern Illinois already dealing with weekend flooding. This weekend’s system dumped inches of rain, mainly in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.

Drivers on Monday kept it slow as rain water sat in thick puddles, making hydroplaning a hazard. The Big Muddy River near the border of Union and Jackson Counties along Highway 3 is higher than normal, with water well over the banks and surrounding trees.

Folks living in the Wolf Lake community in Illinois are still seeing flooding on lawns and ditches, but they say this is nothing compared to what was covering the area on Saturday. The weather service rain gauge on the Mississippi River near Wolf Lake registered 10.03 inches of rain in the area since Saturday.

People living there say the rain came down hard and fast.

"I’ve lived here 64 years, and this is the most water I’ve ever seen here in town," said Richard Ring, a longtime Wolf Lake resident. The line of dirt and mud sitting on his grass is as high as floodwaters got on Ring’s front lawn.

Ring says his rain gauge measured about 11 inches of rain, most of it falling on Saturday.

"We got six of it, five or six of it Saturday morning in about two to four hours, and it just filled the ponds up. The ditches are all full of dirt," Ring said. The heavy rain has been a problem, but he says the bigger issue here are the town’s rain ditches. He says neither the county nor the state wants to claim them, and as a result, they haven’t been cleaned in more than 10 years.

Ring says when the ditches back up, so do ponds and everything else in town. His basement had water in it for the first time, and the water crept up in his backyard higher than ever.

"Yeah, it got up almost over the tree stump," he said.

Neighbors living down the road say when ditches can’t drain, it’s their homes and yards taking the hit. They say when this rain finally stops, they want either the state or the county to help fix the drainage systems. For many residents, simply leaving isn’t an option.

"I’m just trying to live it out, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve lived here all my life, and you know, I’m not going to move," Ring said. After six decades in Wolf Lake, Ring says he says you can always wait out mother nature.

The Wolf Lake area expects more heavy rain to fall in the coming days. 

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