Randolph County leaders prepare in case levee fails upstream - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Randolph County leaders prepare in case levee fails upstream

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RANDOLPH CO. (WSIL) -- The Randolph County Board of Commissioners is planning ahead in case of a levee failure upstream in Monroe County.

County leaders say a failure in the Columbia Bottoms levee system in Monroe County would potentially flood Fountain Creek and impact Prairie du Rocher. 

On Friday, the board approved a resolution designed to limit flooding in the Prairie du Rocher-Modoc Levee District.

If the Monroe County levees fail, the resolution authorizes emergency management officials to issue an evacuation advisory and “cut” a hole in the Mississippi River levee between Prairie du Rocher and Fort Chartres to allow flood water inside the levee to drain back into the river.

Similar action was taken in this area during the flooding of 1993. 

County officials estimate residents in the Prairie du Rocher-Modoc Levee District and in and around the village of Prairie du Rocher would have approximately 36 hours to evacuate in the event of a levee breach in Monroe County.

"However, while it is unlikely the river levee would be overtopped within Randolph County, based on predictions by the National Weather Service office in St. Louis, flood water has been on the saturated levee system for more than 80 days. That could cause the levees to fail from within and literally drop, allowing flood water in and requiring residents to get to higher ground much more quickly," stated a news release Friday from Larry Willis, public information officer for the county.  

Levee district commissioner Mark Laurent said while cutting the levee and evacuating residents would be a last resort, "we have to be ready for it.”

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