CARBONDALE - April 23, 2013. As chair of an Illinois River conservation council, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon encouraged residents along the Illinois River to remain vigilant and take precautions as flood waters continue to rise over the coming days.
"While the northern portion of the Illinois River starts to recede, areas downstream of La Salle-Peru have not yet crested and could see the river raise another four to seven feet in the coming days," said Simon, who chairs the Illinois River Coordinating Council. "I will continue to work with state, local and disaster relief officials to provide aid to these vulnerable communities."
At present, the Illinois River is projected to crest at 29.4 feet early Wednesday morning in Peoria, about a half-inch higher than the previous record. Flood stage for the Illinois River in Peoria is 18 feet. Farther downstream, the river is projected to crest at 29.5 feet in Beardstown on Thursday morning, where the flood stage is at 14 feet.
As flood waters continue to rise, Simon reminded families to exercise caution and avoid driving through flood waters. Residents can monitor flood levels, find updates on road conditions and search for nearby shelters at www.ready.illinois.gov. To donate to the recovery effort or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
"With more rain coming down last night and today, flooding throughout central and southern Illinois will get worse before it gets better," Simon said.
Governor Quinn has declared 44 counties as state disaster areas. Counties included in the state disaster declaration are Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, Douglas, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Stark, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.
Lt. Governor Simon and the Illinois River Coordinating Council work with state and federal agencies and local communities to raise awareness of and address watershed issues along the Illinois River. The Council assisted volunteer efforts and agency responses to the 2011 Mississippi River flood in Southern Illinois.