Extreme flooding hits Midwestern states

Photo by CNN
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 8:00am

Heavy rains have caused flooding in several Midwestern states, leaving some homeless and rivers at dangerous levels.

"The more I see the water come up, the more I'll cry," said Starlynn Winchell, as she stared at floodwaters rushing up against her Spring Bay, Illinois home.

Winchell is one of many people in riverside communities this week inundated with flooding.

At least six rivers in northern Illinois had surged to record levels in recent days after the area was pummeled with five inches of rain. Flooding has displaced thousands and pushed Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to declare 44 counties as disaster areas.

"We have seen some of the worst flooding damage to neighborhoods and homes across our state in Illinois history," Quinn said Monday.

Downpours have left flooding concerns for rivers in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Mississippi and Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

Missouri Governor Jay Dixon declared a state of emergency after flash flooding hit many areas.

"The sustained periods of heavy rainfall (have) swollen creeks and streams and is pushing the Mississippi River over flood levels, endangering river communities," Nixon said.

In Spring Bay, a northern Illinois town of less than 500 people, the flooding has been devastating.

Winchell said the flooding began Sunday, submerging her home and about 40 others in her trailer community. By Monday, the dark murky water was still as high as the door of some homes. Winchell said she could not get back into her home as she stood about 50 yards away where the water has receded.

"Yesterday I cried all day," she said.

Brad Lohman, who owns a bar in the town, was also hit hard.

"It's kind of emotional to see this situation and it's a bad deal," he said, looking the waters that rose close to window level.

Lohman had worked at the bar when he was teenager and eventually bought it. But this flood may be the end. He doubts he can reopen.

"I think it's going be a total loss," he said, "I really do."

CNN's Jim Spellman contributed to this report.


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