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Still Treading Water in Putnam County

After several days of searching for routes that were not underwater, the worst of the spring flooding may finally be finished.

With ditches and fields still acting as make-shift reservoirs, most streets and roads are now dry, and basement sump pumps have had a chance to catch up after rains pounded the Illinois Valley area April 18 and 19. Currently the only routes in the area still listed as closed by the Illinois Department of Transportation are Illinois 351 south of LaSalle and Illinois 18 east of Henry.

The National Weather Service has reported a statewide average of slightly more than 6.5 inches of rain for the month and noted Putnam County received at least 7 inches or more, making this one of the wettest Aprils on record. The fact that at least 5 of those inches of rain fell during a two-day span explains why things are slow in getting back to normal.

Gov. Pat Quinn has declared Putnam and 47 other counties a disaster area and has made a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive federal aid.

The Putnam County Emergency Management Agency is accepting reports as part of that request.

“We’ve been doing damage assessment. Now, that information will go to Springfield where the state will try to get a federal declaration of a disaster area,” said Jim Goldasich, Putnam County Emergency Management Agency director. “Then FEMA can set up a recovery station down here and talk to people with losses from the flooding.”

As of April 28, the water level of the Illinois River was 27 1/2 feet, still 7.5 feet over flood stage. Barring more rain, the river is still expected to be above flood stage for at least another week.

Source: Putnam County Record