Watseka flooding leads to evacuations

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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More than 10 homes were evacuated due to rising floodwaters in Watseka, which is about 30 miles south of Kankakee.

WATSEKA, Ill. (WLS) -- More than 20 homes were evacuated due to rising flood waters from Sugar Creek in Watseka, which is about 30 miles south of Kankakee, Ill.

The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency said that while Sugar Creek is slowly starting to drop, the Iroquois River is still rising. The Iroquois River at Iroquois crested late Tuesday night.

County crews are working around the clock to make sure everyone was safe in the flooded area. The American Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees at Trinity Church in Watseka.

"Our fire department is actively evacuating people at their request. I believe we've done approximately 20 evacuations since last night. Public works department is out there barricading streets. We have a lot of streets in town closed because of high water," Mayor Bob Harwood said.

Harwood said the flood came on fast overnight.

"That surge was probably two and half, three feet of water that came within a very short period of time, inundating the west side of town," Harwood said.

Harwood said it takes five to seven days for the water to recede. The town has not asked for any outside help.

"We realize that there are communities in downstate Illinois that are hit much, much harder than we are at this point in time," Harwood said.

Just last July, the Iroquois River flooded in Watseka.