ST. JOSEPH – Kirby Poff feverishly piled sandbags in front of his home in the Heather Hills subdivision north of St. Joseph on Wednesday afternoon to stop the rising floodwaters from reaching his home.
In front of his home, three cars were left stranded, with water up to the wheels. Several mailboxes along the street were completely submerged.
BISMARCK – Although Amy McCarty hasn't seen her house since her family evacuated it on Tuesday night, she's preparing for the worst.
"I've cried and cried. ... I'm not sure I could cry much more," said a weary McCarty, who fears her home near the North Fork River west of Bismarck has been destroyed by floodwaters. "I know we'll have to find a new house."
Freddie Kochell kept a close eye on the rising waters of the North Fork River on Tuesday night. But Kochell, who lives on Gundy Cemetery Road west of Bismarck, said he planned to stay put no matter what.
"I've been flooded several times," said Kochell – whose cedar log cabin, which was built on top of a concrete garage – sits about 20 feet away from the river. "If it floods, there's nothing I can do about it."
Fog is to blame for several accidents on Monday, including a deadly crash between a semitrailer and a car west of Catlin, and a crash involving the Hoopeston police chief.
Capt. Dennis Wood of the Vermilion County Sheriff's Office said the collision killed the male driver of the car and injured his female passenger. Their names and the name of the semi driver were not available on Monday night.
The first major snowfall of 2008 closed schools and many government offices today and kept Illinois State Police on their toes. Apparently fearing a repeat of the snowstorm that dumped about 13 inches on our area Feb. 12, 2007, many central Illinoisans took the advice of officials and stayed put Thursday night.
"It was very, very quiet," Tracy Wingler, Champaign County highway maintenance supervisor said of activity in the emergency operations center overnight. "I don't think we had any really serious accidents at all. My men haven't said anything about cars being in their way as they try to get roads open."
Property owners in downtown Champaign and in the University District are getting a break as far as enforcement of a city ordinance requiring that sidewalks must be shoveled.
The city ordinance requires that sidewalks must be cleared within 48 hours after the city's public works Director Dennis Schmidt makes a declaration. But city council members indicated when the ordinance was approved last year that they didn't want the 48 hours to be in effect over the weekend, in case property owners were out of town.
CHAMPAIGN – Wind and cold temperatures caused massive power outages throughout Illinois last night, but Ameren had power restored for most customers in this part of the state by this morning.
"I can tell you that we had a total of nearly 30,000 out throughout our 85-county service area, and that was the height of it yesterday evening," said Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris.
WATSEKA – Ed Davenport half-waded, half-swam across what used to be the street in front of his Watseka apartment on Thursday afternoon.
The street looked more like a river or a small pond, with several feet of water reaching above Davenport's knees.
DANVILLE – The Vermilion County Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross are preparing evacuation shelters for residents who might be displaced by flooding as the Vermilion River and other waterways in the county continue rising.
As of Wednesday afternoon, no Vermilion County residents had been forced to leave their homes because of flooding, according to the emergency management agency. But officials were preparing for evacuations because river levels are expected to continue rising through at least midday today.
PAXTON – An autopsy was scheduled for this morning in the death of a Paxton area man whose car was apparently washed off a rural road and then completely submerged in standing water.
Meanwhile, Ford and Iroquois counties are still recovering from the flooding caused when heavy thunderstorms moved through the area Monday night and Tuesday morning, dumping 4 to 6 inches of rain on top of melting snow.