SPRINGFIELD, Ill – Sandbagging operations are underway along parts of the Illinois River to help several communities fight flooding. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated nearly 60 Illinois National Guard Soldiers to assist with the state’s response.
The National Weather Service is forecasting major river flooding over the next several days for portions of the Illinois River as well as moderate to minor flooding for 9 other rivers.
A state disaster declaration has already been issued for Grundy, Pike, Scott and Morgan counties. The National Weather Service says the town or Meredosia, west of Springfield, is projected to reach flood stage this Saturday. Without protective measures, officials say several levees can overtop, threatening the community of 980 residents.
Gov. Pritzker explained in a statement how the health crisis is playing a role in the response. “COVID-19 has altered every facet of our lives, and that includes how we respond to emergencies or disasters. Our public safety agencies are working together to provide guidelines that limit potential exposures and keep everyone safe,” Pritzker said.
All guardsmen will be tested for COVID-19 prior to deployment. They will also be issued PPE to use when they can’t properly social distance.