Fox River reaches record high levels, Morris residents try to recover from severe flooding

April 21, 2013 (MORRIS, Ill.)

Water in the Chain O' Lakes is expected to crest Monday at levels not seen since 1960.

Governor Pat Quinn has declared at least 41 counties disaster areas including Lake, McHenry, LaSalle and Grundy counties.

In Morris, the piles are growing higher.

The Stricklands are just one of many families having to discard everything in their flood-ravaged basement.

"We see people going through our things and it's not like something you just throw out on the street that you don't want," Bessie Strickland said.

"That's our hope chest. We've lost pictures. We've lost everything. She's lost her wedding bouquet. She's lost everything," Geno Strickland said.

The flood stole their hope chest but not their hope.

"I have to have some hope. I have to have it. I mean, that's all we really have is hope," Bessie Strickland said.

The torrent from nettle creek also flooded Morris Hospital which is still cleaning up and unable to admit patients.

It collapsed this historic aqueduct and canal which served as flood protection for nearby communities.

"It could cause them to not have to have management control and the waters could maybe flood some areas there that it's never flooded before," Morris Fire Protection District Chief Tracey Steffes said.

In hard-hit Marseilles, where about a third of the town was evacuated, residents are now tallying their losses.

"I've lived here all my life, and I've never ever seen anything like this. Never," flood victim John Knudson said.

Governor Pat Quinn got a look at Marseilles Elementary School where several classrooms are now a muddy, moldy mess.

"We appreciate our teachers. They want to teach. Kids want to learn. We got to make sure we get the school back in order," Quinn said.

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