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Hundreds in Illinois Flee Rising Rivers

March 06, 1985|From United Press International

Record floodwaters forced hundreds of Illinois families from their river-front homes today. Residents of some towns requested sandbags to stack along swollen streams but authorities said they were powerless to stop the rising rivers.

The Illinois and Fox rivers rose to record heights, overflowing banks and washing out main roads.

The flooding--which occurred for the second time in two weeks--was considered at its worst in Rome, where nearly all the 1,500 people have been evacuated, and in Frederick, Rushville and Ottawa.

"What we have today is record flood stages throughout the state. We've been gearing up for this," said Greg Durham, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Emergency Services Disaster Agency. "We know it's coming, but we can't stop it."

People Seeking Shelter

Durham said some towns have requested sandbags to help shore up the area before the problem worsens.

"You can watch the river and see it on the rise," said Peoria County Sheriff Capt. George Andrew. "It's an ongoing thing. People are seeking shelter with relatives and friends that live in areas not affected."

The Coast Guard closed the Illinois River to boats from the mouth of the river to near LaSalle, Ill. The Army Corps of Engineers said the Illinois is expected to crest Friday and Saturday but will remain above flood stage in most areas until early next week.

Flooding began after up to three inches of rain fell late Sunday.

In the Chicago suburbs, 3,100 people remained without electricity after a Sunday-Monday ice storm and about 8,500 people had no telephone service.

The Mississippi River crept toward downtown Hannibal, Mo., but officials said the situation was not serious.

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