Flood Monitoring Intensifies in Region

May 5, 2017

The Union County Sheriff's Office and the the county emergency management agency wants residents in the Wolf Lake and Ware areas to consider evacuating until the Mississippi River falls to a safe level.

Officials say several sand boils were identified on the levee west of Wolf Lake. Local, state and federal agencies say their non-stop work to stabilize the sand boils appears to be successful, so far.

Those residents planning to evacuate should make sure to grab critical items such as medications and all forms of personal identification.

For updates go online to http://blog.unioncountyil.gov.

Jackson County officials remain cautiously optimistic with recent forecasts on the Big Muddy and Mississippi Rivers.

County officials and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency have been in regular contact with local levee commissioners and representatives from Desoto, Grand Tower and Murphysboro, as well as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the National Weather Service.

Access to the Big Muddy and Mississippi River levees is restricted to levee commissioners only. Patrols started on the Big Muddy levee Thursday evening to monitor conditions and will continue until river levels fall below flood stages.

For the latest information on flooding in Jackson County, go online to jacksoncountyema.com.

The Big Muddy River at Murphysboro will continue rising to near 38.2 feet by the evening of May 5.

River levels will slowly fall through the weekend with major flooding expected to end by Tuesday. That's about two feet below the record high.

The Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau will continue rising to near 48-feet by Sunday morning, then begin falling. That's about a foot below the record.

Access to the Big Muddy and Mississippi River levees is restricted to levee commissioners only.

Patrols started on the Big Muddy levee last night to monitor conditions and will continue river levels fall below stages.

Another stretch of the Mississippi River has been closed to all traffic. The U.S. Coast Guard closed a 77-mile stretch of the river late yesterday in southern Illinois. That's in addition to a 14.5 mile stretch of river closed earlier in the week in St. Louis. It's unclear when vessel traffic will be allowed to resume.

With all of the recent flooding in southern Illinois, the United States Forest Service strongly urges the public to stay out of flood waters when exploring the Shawnee National Forest. 

In a news  release, the Forest Service points out that the various rivers, creeks and streams in the Forest are at very high levels and running fast and cold., due to recent flooding.  The Forest Service says do not walk or drive across flooded roads or bridges.  Water may hide an impassable hole or weakened structure. 

As of right now, the trails in the Lusk Creek Wilderness area are CLOSED to equestrians for at least 24 hours following the ending of the rain.  Two roads are closed because of the heavy rains: Opossum Trot Road and Stoneface Road.  The Forest Service adds other sites which have a lot of water in them include Tower Rock Campground, Oakwood Bottoms Greentree Reservoir and Turkey Bayou.

The Forest Service says you might want to restrict your outdoor activities to  well-hardened trails or sites.