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Flooding causes sand boils, road closures in Jackson County

JACKSON COUNTY (WSIL) — Recent rain is causing flooding concerns in Jackson County to last a little longer.

County officials have declared an emergency to get state resources as some communities deal with sand boils and sinkholes.

Jackson County Board Member Andrew and levee commissioner Charles Fritsche have been watching the Mississippi River for a few months now.

“This has been kind of a long, heavy, slow creep and everything is just so saturated and we continue to get this rain,” Erbes said.

Water pressure from the river has forced sand boils to pop up, pushing up soil and water on the other side of the Degognia-Fountain Bluff levee.

“We’ve got to stop them. They just get worse and worse,” Fritsche said. “It’ll literally just undercut the entire levee.”

Workers have been sandbagging the sand boils to keep the levee from deteriorating but there are a number of other concerns, including soaked farm land and flooded roads.  

“People down here have to use the levee because all the lower roads out here are under water, almost all of them, at some point or another,” Erbes said.

Grand Tower is dealing with similar issues near their levee with sinkholes opening up along Front Street.

Volunteers are actively monitoring the levee to make sure no new issues arise and to help keep people from driving along the levee, which is a fineable offense due to the river level.

Driving along the Degognia-Fountain Bluff levee is allowed, but only to local traffic.

Officials met with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Thursday to see what resources the state can help with. The county board declared an emergency Wednesday to start getting assistance from the state.

“Everything from personnel to the National Guard to making sure that you have pumps, that you have plastic, sandbags, gravel,” acting IEMA director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said.

Tate-Nadeau said Jackson County mostly just needs pumps and has done a good job keeping up with everything else, but it’s a fluid situation that could change quickly.

The National Weather Service has pushed back its projections for when the Mississippi River will crest.

Now that’s expected to happen sometime early Tuesday morning, according to projections from the National Weather Service’s river observation point in Chester.

Tate-Nadeau said it’ll be tough to tell how much the flooding will cost until after river levels start dropping, and whether or not the state will qualify for federal assistance.

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