More National Guard members in southern Illinois to help fight flooding
ALEXANDER COUNTY, IL — As the floodwaters rise, so does the manpower in southern Illinois. More members of the Illinois National Guard are in East Cape Girardeau to help fight off the flooding.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated an additional 80 guardsmen to go to East Cape Girardeau. In all, about 140 guardsmen are helping with sandbagging, levee monitoring and security in the area, according to a news release.
The Illinois National Guard posted photos on its Facebook page, showing some of the work the guardsmen have been doing at East Cape Girardeau.
In addition, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency have moved more than 150,000 sandbags and more than two dozen pumps to southern Illinois.
East Cape Girardeau Mayor Joe Aden said the village is under a voluntary evacuation. Earlier this month, the mobile home community in East Cape Girardeau was placed under a mandatory evacuation.
Authorities say Illinois Route 3 and Route 146 in the immediate area of East Cape Girardeau are impassable due to the high water levels. At Route 3 in McClure, Local 6 saw that a Humvee with the Illinois National Guard was helping to block the road to warn drivers about the flooding. The guardsmen told Local 6 at least one car that drove onto the road got stuck in the water.
The Route 3 closure is a big adjustment for McClure resident Marion Tucker. He said it used to take him 20 minutes or less to drive from his home to Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau, where he works. Now, the trip takes him at least two hours because of the detour.
“I gotta’ go to Anna and Jonesboro and down 57 to Sikeston and back up 55,” said Tucker, adding that getting to work now costs him about $30 to $35 a day in gas.
Tucker is dealing with rising floodwaters at home, too. Much of his backyard is submerged. So is the parking lot of a nearby bar. Tucker said some of his neighbors, as well as his family, have temporarily left town.
“It just kind of disrupts a lot, and my wife and kids are staying at Cape (Girardeau) in our camper,” said Tucker. “So I come back here and stay with myself, just to kind of keep an eye on everything to make sure there ain’t nobody digging through what they ain’t supposed to be digging through.”
For others who are staying in their homes in McClure, the floodwaters are making it difficult.
“It’s just a pain in the neck for anybody. Some of these folks back here — they made them pallets and made them walkways to get in and out,” Tucker said.
Tucker said although his backyard is flooded, he does not believe the water will get inside his home. He said he’s lived in southern Illinois for 63 years, and this is the worst flooding he has seen in the area.