SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) - As the Mississippi River levels begin to drop following record setting heights during the New Year Flood, folks in the Heartland are still dealing with the aftermath of the flood.
Heartland News traveled 55 miles from Grand Tower to Cairo, Ill. on Thursday to survey flood damage and to ask residents living in the more than a dozen effected communities what they were dealing with.
On the trek along Route 3, water constantly appeared to the left and right. Fields were still lakes; and sand bags topped levees and were still piled around homes even though the river was receding.
Kenneth Mezo, 73, from Grand Tower, Ill. said each time it floods he's forced to consider relocating.
"I've always told myself, if the levee breaks and it gets in my house, I'll move out but I won't come back," Mezo said.
Mezo has lived in the small town along the Mississippi his entire life. He said he's seen the river rage several times but has never had to leave his home.
"There's a lot of good people here. We had a lot of people come in and help that we didn't even know," Mezo said. "And like I said, the Lord took care of us, he did."
Jane Treece from Ware, Ill. said she had to move from her home on New Year's Eve because water was rising to her back door.
"It's quite something," Treece said. "It's something new to us. So, I don't really know what to think about it. I just hope that it goes on and it doesn't return."
She's now going through the headache of slowly moving back into her home. She said a winter flood was something she'd never seen before.
In Thebes, a park was still under water.
In Olive Branch, one of the hardest hit areas in the region, waters had receded, but flooding was still apparent.
In Cairo, the Ohio River Bridge connecting Illinois and Kentucky between Cairo and Wickliffe, Ky. has been closed for a week.
The Kentucky Transportation Department said the bridge will not be reopened until water is clear from the road and is found to be safe to drive across.
An estimated 5,000 vehicles cross that bridge each day and have to find alternative routes.