Living with flooding in Alexander County

Living with flooding in Alexander County

MILLER CITY, IL (KFVS) - Alexander County has seen more than it's fair share of flooding. 

Many communities in the county feel used to dealing with flooding conditions after the major flooding events lately in 2011, 2016 and now 2017.

For those in Miller City, flooding is a way of life they have grown accustomed to. 

We tagged along with Jennifer Korte, Brandon Dillow and her children as they took a boat ride back to their home on Sunday, May 7. 

Along the way, we saw the floodwaters threatening every single structure in the Miller City area. But that's not all. The waters have also washed out roads and damaged the land. 

"Cleanup is going to be the worst problem," Korte said. "Trying to get the roads repaired so the farmers can get back to their fields. Because it's that time of year. To make a living is their main goal."

Many don't live in the Miller City area like they used to. Flooding throughout the years caused many to leave. However those who have stayed say it's a new way of life having to deal with the threat of flooding at any time especially with a broken levee now.

Korte said they are all a family there and will stick together.

"We learn to adapt," Korte said. "You learn to keep notes, very good notes. You learn to adapt and it becomes a way of life."

Korte and her family have been keeping notes of where the floodwaters reach their home and roads in comparison to the river levels. 

"In the New Year's Flood, we kept a journal based on having a levee," Korte explained. "Now we've learned to keep a journal based on not having a levee so we know where we stand for the water and how we are going to be able to fix our levee around our homes and how we are going to get in and out of with our boats."

Korte said it's important to stay here where she calls home. No matter how many floods are thrown her way. 

"A lot of people don't understand why a person would want to stay down here and fight this every year, fight this sometimes twice a year. It's home," Korte said.

Korte has a levee they built around her and her neighbors property. They first built it for the flood in 2011. Unfortunately, the levee gave way to the floodwaters in that record breaking flood.

However, after that, they built it higher and stronger before the 2016 flood hit and then the waters never hit their homes. 

Now they sit in the middle of the major sprint flooding as the waters crest around their home. Their levee stands strong and is not budging. 

They watch both the Mississippi River and the Ohio River levels closely and learn what roads and paths are available by boat at certain levels.

After the floodwaters start to recede, they will count their blessings and prepare for the ongoing possibility of yet another flood. 

"We will pick up the pieces," Korte added. "We're family and family sticks together and we take care of each other. Rivers flooding, fire, anything in between, we stick together and we're going to do it."

As far as the broken Lens Small Levee, farmers plan to start rebuilding that once they get some lasting dryer conditions.

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