SPRINGFIELD – As the state continues efforts to assist flood-impacted areas in six southeastern Illinois counties, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today said Illinois also is ramping up preparations for possible flooding within the next week along parts of the Mississippi River and several other waterways throughout the state.
“The flood threat is far from over and we are taking proactive measures to ensure that we’re fully prepared at both the state and local levels to respond quickly to protect people and critical infrastructure,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
Liaisons from nearly two dozen state agencies met in the State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield on Wednesday to coordinate requests for state assistance already received from local emergency managers and ensure state assets and personnel are ready to be deployed in the event of additional flooding throughout the state.
Officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Office of Water Resources are closely monitoring river levels and precipitation forecasts for Illinois and its neighboring states. Water experts are coordinating with IEMA to determine what measures can be taken to protect communities where floodwaters could hit.
Later this week, IEMA officials plan to conduct meetings with emergency management representatives from several counties along the Mississippi River, which could see flooding next week as heavy rainfalls in Iowa and Wisconsin head downstream. Discussions will focus on flood projections, incident action planning and potential requests for state assistance.
On Tuesday, Gov. Blagojevich declared six southeastern Illinois counties state disaster areas due to widespread flooding. The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from flooding. Counties included in the Governor’s declaration are Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Jasper and Lawrence.
The State of Illinois has personnel and assets that can be mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including such things as trucks, heavy equipment and work crews to speed debris removal, and assistance with security and other public safety issues. State assistance provided this week to local communities to help with their flood fights includes:
- Two IEMA regional coordinators on site in Lawrence County to coordinate local requests for state assistance following levee breaks on the Embarras and Wabash rivers Tuesday. Other IEMA regional coordinators are in close contact with their local emergency management officials to assess conditions and determine if state assistance may be needed.
· Conservation police officers from the IDNR have assisted with evacuations in Lawrence County and conducted resident safety checks.
· An Illinois State Police (ISP) airplane was used to conduct a flyover in Lawrence County to assess the extent of the flooding.
· ISP officers are on site in Lawrence County to assist with safety issues.
- 24 inmates from the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will fill sandbags on Thursday.
- An IDNR boat patrol is assisting locals by checking on residents along the river.
- 10 inmates will fill sandbags on Thursday and Friday.
- A crew of six inmates was dispatched to Cass County earlier this week to help fill sandbags.
- 30 barricades from IDOT to assist with traffic control.
- 24 inmates will help fill sandbags on Thursday.
- Two trucks from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to assist with moving sand and rock.