Volunteers needed to fight flood in McClure - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Volunteers needed to fight flood in McClure

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MCCLURE (WSIL) -- Flooding in Alexander County forced crews to shut down more roads on Wednesday night. 

In addition to roads being closed, homes are being destroyed. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation closed Route 146 from East Cape Girardeau to the Bill Emerson Bridge. 

Route 3 from McClure to Gale shut down earlier this month. 

With the flood waters not going anywhere anytime soon, residents in McClure are begging for volunteers to help sandbag. 

McClure native James Myers said he is tired of seeing water. 

"You're talking seep water, you're talking rain water, river water that's coming from under the sand boils because of the extreme pressure," Myers said. 

Residents in the village have been dealing with months of water surrounding homes, businesses and covering roads. 

"This water is nasty, it's been here for months," Myers said. 

Myers said he has never seen the flooding in McClure this bad. 

The water has already destroyed a handful of homes. 

"We will be lucky if we don't lose 100 people out of a 400 person community that won't ever come back," Myers said. 

Myers is also the organizer of the sandbagging effort in the village and is asking for volunteers to help before residents lose anymore homes. 

"I ask for volunteers and everybody says McClure is an island, how am I supposed to get there?" Myers said. "My resources have really been cut."

Myers said more than half of McClure's population is elderly. 

"I got to have help, but I really need backs," Myers said. 

Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny said he sees some improvement in the water levels. 

"Everyday the river falls, the seep water falls a little bit and it get a little better every day," Denny said.

For the first time in months, all local gauges on the Mississippi River have fallen below major flood stag and the flow of water has slowed drastically. 

"Right now, we are only getting a third as much water in as we were getting around the crest," Denny said. 

Denny said he hopes over the next few days the north flood gates in Union County will open. 

Myers said he is keeping his faith, but is praying for a break from the rain. 

"I'm not going to pray for a drought, but we could sure use a break from Mother Nature," Myers said. 

Myers said anyone wanting to volunteer should meet at Spark Ministries off of Route 3 on the south end of McClure at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

The only way to get to McClure is to enter from the north on Route 3.

You will have to drive through four inches of water but Myers said it is safe, just take it slow. 

Myers said he will have towels, sunscreen and bug spray but volunteers should be prepared to stand in water to place sandbags. 

Two firework businesses donated some small displays to the village of McClure which you can watch and enjoy after volunteering Thursday night. 

"I had a couple of firework stands give me a couple of small displays to shoot off at the end of the night, just so it seems like a holiday," Myers said. "We don't want to forget about what tomorrow is about. We are going to do everything we can to stay free and stay above water."

Staff from Thai D Classic Thai Cuisine in Marion will be serving meals to the volunteers. 

Earlier this week the owner and employees surveyed the damage in McClure. 

The owner decided to donate 10 percent of sales over the past two days to help.

Another business owner in Anna is collecting donations for the residents in McClure. 

Leslee Stoffell grew up in McClure and she is collecting food, water, gloves and monetary donations to help her hometown. 

Stoffell is collecting items at Southern Roots Hair Company, 335 E. Main Street, in Anna. 

The Southern Seven Health Department's Medical Reserve Corps are also collecting donations to help local flood victims. 

On Friday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. you can make a donation to the "Flood the Bus" event. 

Click here for more details. 

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