Man escapes flooding in McClure, Ill., worries homes will be lost

Man escape flooding, but expects to lose home in McClure, Ill.

McClure, Ill. (KFVS) - After evacuating his flooded family home in McClure, Illinois, one man is still worried it will be weeks or possibly months before he can go back to assess the damage.

Bobby Long said he left town just before Illinois Route 3 between McClure and Cape Girardeau closed because of seep water continuing to spill into his McClure home.

“All of the other ones we bounced back up from, but this flood this time has destroyed 48 years of my life," Long said. “Water has gotten places I did not even know it could get, and I’ve seen them all since 1973.”

The building has been in Long’s family for generations and he has invested more than $75,000 back into the property.

“And it was ignorant to have an emotional attachment to a piece of dirt that is now pretty much underwater,” he said.

Right now, Long is staying in Cape Girardeau County until the waters recede. He said the two-hour detour around flooded parts of Route 3 and Route 146 is too expensive.

“I won’t go back there until this is over and when I do it will be to clean out what I can salvage because I will never live in that pit again,” Long said.

McClure Mayor Cheryle Dillon said seep water is now starting to top part of Illinois Route 3 between her town and Anna, Ill.

Currently, it is the driest path in an out of the small town. If this section of Route 3 closes Dillon fears the remaining residents could be stuck.

“This is the first time we’ve ever felt like we are isolated,” Dillon said. “It’s scary! It really is. There’s people here that have small children. I would be afraid to lay down and go to sleep knowing I couldn’t get my little children out of here if something happened.”

At this time, Mayor Dillon is asking for additional hands to help sandbag and do other flood prevention efforts around town.

Meanwhile, Long has to play the waiting game. He said every rainstorm that goes over McClure it adds to his despair.

“I just have to go over there where I stay and I go down into the basement, close the door and just try not to think about it," Long said. "It’s a mess and it ain’t never going to be the same. They can all fool themselves but it’s over. It ain’t McClure no more.”

Alexander County does have several gravity gates that can supply some relief to the flooded area inside the levee, but the first one cannot be opened until the Mississippi River falls below 37 feet. The forecast for the river to drop below 37 remains a few weeks away.

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