Illinois National Guard called to duty in communities impacted by flooding

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Twelve counties in central and southern Illinois have been declared disaster areas due to flooding. (WLS)

Gov. Bruce Rauner ordered Illinois National Guard soldiers to active duty on Friday to help communities impacted by this week's flooding.

Rauner toured areas damaged by the floods in central and southern Illinois, including Alton, this weekend.

The governor said his biggest concern is Alexander County because forecasters miscalculated the crest of the Mississippi River. A levee there has breached and people are being asked to leave their homes.

Rauner told reports that he will visit all 12 Illinois counties that have been declared disaster areas over the next couple of days.

Counties declared disaster areas include: Alexander, Calhoun, Christian, Clinton, Douglas, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Morgan, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair.

A state disaster declaration makes a wide variety of state resources available that can help communities respond and recover from flooding. Resources include sandbags, sand, pumps, trucks and other heavy equipment and other assistance to ensure public safety.

Surging Midwestern rivers forced hundreds of evacuations, threatened dozens of levees and brought transportation by car, boat or train to a virtual standstill this week in the St. Louis area.

Two main highways that were flooded and shut down for days are now back open in Missouri - a welcome sight for residents.

The Miller family said this is the most severe flooding they have ever seen.

"It's mind boggling," said Bob Miller, of Fenton, Mo.

Dwight Davis'home was saved by sandbags. He was one of hundreds in the St. Louis suburbs told to evacuate.

Many are still not allowed to return home and authorities warn that the danger isn't over yet.

This flooding was historic for the Meramec River, cresting in Valley Park - four feet above the record set back in 1993.

The water is starting to recede, but with clean up just beginning, the national guard will remain activated until at least Saturday..

"Once it started going down it was just a huge weight off our shoulders," Davis said. "But we are not done yet there is still got a lot of more to do."

Indeed, a long road ahead for so many.

In fact, in low lying areas authorities said more than 100 roads are still under water.
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