EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, Ill. (KFVS) - Heavy downpours over the weekend means the Mississippi River is rising once again and the stormy weather also created more issues for a Heartland community already struggling with flooding.
Strong winds are damaging sandbag walls in East Cape Girardeau, Illinois and the extra rain caused seep water there to rise 3 inches in the last 24 hours.
The problems may be persistent, but Village Trustee Jason Tubbs say so has the help East Cape to keep the rest of their community dry.
“The walls are being reinforced and heightened so that we can prepare for anymore rising seep water, rising water or inclement weather,”Tubbs said. “Our skills are being refined. The soldiers are learning how to build the walls a little stronger to replace them. Us as a community are learning how to adapt and overcome.”
Tubbs says the goal is to prevent flood waters from getting inside more buildings, including the community hall on Brookwood Drive which filled with seven inches of water Friday night.
“Everything has been cleaned up. We are trying to suck all of the moisture out of the building," Tubbs said. "It already smells 100 percent better than it was when the water went in. It’s being guarded around the clock 24-7 by the walls being watched. One way or another it will be a saved building.”
On Monday, June 24, crews with the Illinois Department of Transportation delivered 16,000 pre-made sandbags to East Cape.
80 soldiers with the Illinois National Guard were singing while they worked Monday, and Lt. Jamie Gunning says they brought the energy to get the job done.
“These soldiers are highly motivated right now," Gunning said. "We had an 18 hour day yesterday and I could walk into a room and say ‘How excited are you?’ And this is what you get.”
Lt. Gunning says soldiers are also monitoring 16 water pumps that are clearing out people’s flooded back yards.
“The importance of those pumps is to pump out any water that we are trapping at the same time due to rain,” Gunning said. “We could keep the seepage out but we are also essentially creating a fishbowl for water coming in because the sewer systems just can’t keep up.”
Tubbs thinks they are weeks away from getting relief because the extra rain is causing the river to rise once again.
“It’s a little daunting and a little overwhelming knowing that we are going to be delayed," Tubbs said. "And we’re not sure what is going to happen. We are at the mercy of mother nature as well as the river, unfortunately.”
Tubbs says only 20 percent of the town has evacuated at this point in time.
Unless you feel like you’re in harm’s way, city leaders are encouraging everyone else to stay so they have extra eyes and ears to help spot any problems that might occur.