Rauner to tour more flooded areas; Illinois National Guard on standby

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Monday, January 4, 2016

KINCAID, Ill. (WLS) -- The Illinois National Guard is on standby because of massive flooding, especially near the Mississippi River.

Governor Bruce Rauner has ordered some troops and a chopper to be on alert in case the water gets out of control. More evacuations may be necessary if waterways overflow.

On Monday, Rauner will tour more flood-damaged areas. He has declared a state of emergency for 12 counties.


Sharon Stivers mustered a smile as a visitor walked into her muddy yard.

"Welcome to my flood sale," Stivers joked, nodding to a tall stack of water-soaked furniture, appliances and belongings pulled from her home and piled high by the road in the flat central Illinois town of Kincaid. "You can have the whole thing for 50 cents."

The Mississippi River and most other waterways in Missouri and Illinois flooded last week after 10-14 inches of rain fell over a wide swath of the two states. The water receded in most places Sunday but continued to rise in a few. Cleanup and damage assessment was only beginning, and could take weeks.

Twenty-five deaths in the two states were blamed on flooding, nearly all of them the result of vehicles driving over flooded roadways. The death toll rose Sunday when the body of a second teenager missing for several days was found near Kincaid, a town of about 1,400 residents along the South Fork Sangamon River near Springfield.

Investigators said the teens, both 18, from Taylorville, Illinois, were trying to drive through flood waters when their truck was swept off the road last week.

"They were attempting to travel a flooded roadway. The current just swept the vehicle off into deep water. It was initially recovered in 17 feet of water," said Alan Bailey, Christian County Sheriff's Department.

The Mississippi River was receding except in the far southern tip of both states. After that, flooding is expected to worsen in Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and other southern states, though the breadth of the flooding there isn't expected to match what happened in Missouri and Illinois.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.