As the flood waters along the riverfront in Jackson County, Illinois, go down, the pressure is starting to lift on communities there. Voluntary evacuations are still underway for those in flood zones in the county, but many are returning to their homes.
With levees holding strong and river levels finally going down, people in Jackson County's flood zone are breathing a big sigh of relief.
"It is an amazing feeling. We're all ready to come home. We're ready for it all to be over," said Jessica Krause, who works in Grand Tower and lives near the area. Krause says she’s grown up knowing the Mississippi River can and will flood. She says she’s grateful for herself and her family to know the levees held this time around.
But now, Grand Tower Mayor Mike Ellet says someone is stealing the fuel inside their emergency pumps, putting people’s lives in danger.
"Trying, just trying to give us an edge, keep the water out of these houses, and somebody's got our fuel. And it makes you, you could just choke somebody," Ellet said.
Ellet says knowing they can’t rely on them should the levees fail, he’s grateful to see the water receding.
So is Jackson County Chairman John S. Rendleman. He says the county is now turning its attention to the levees, and slides cropping up along some in the county.
"We have several of them, none of them are causing us to think the levee's going to breach. It's more of we have to fix these before the next high water," Rendleman said.
Rendleman says crews will start repairing the levees once the waters are back to normal, so they’re strong again before another flood can happen.
Having levees that held strong all throughout the flood, people all around Jackson County say they hope they're just as lucky the next time the rivers rise.
Evacuation orders are expected to be lifted for the 700 homes inside Jackson County’s flood zone on Wednesday.
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