London Mills residents evacuating after levee breach

By Audrey Williams

April 18, 2013 Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM CDT

LONDON MILLS, Ill -- A levee has breached in London Mills. The Police Chief said late Thursday night, half of the town has been forced to evacuate and that could expand at any time.

Volunteers spent much of Thursday sandbagging, but London Mills Police Chief Scott Keithley said early Thursday evening the water broke though.

"I've never see it this high, so I don't know. I don't know when it's supposed to crest or anything so I don't know how much more it's going to come up," said resident David Watkins Thursday as he watched the water creep closer and closer to his home.

Residents in London Mills say they are no stranger to flooding from the Spoon River, but some are saying this is the fastest they've ever seen it rise.

"Got up this morning and took a look out the window and it was just pretty crazy to see," said London Mills resident Dustin Knox.

Wednesday at 2:30 pm the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was measuring the river at 7 feet. Less than 24 hours later, it was well above the 15 foot flood stage and authorities had to close area roads.

"In conjunction with IDOT we've closed Route 116 in addition to County Highway 2, which runs off of 116," said Chief Keithley.

At about 2:45 Thursday afternoon NOAA last measured the Spoon River at about 24.5 feet. In the hour we were there, it rose another 6 inches to a foot. Authorities say it has potential to raise another three feet."

Chief Keithley said, "We're anticipating it to crest at about 29', highest we've ever had is about 28.5'"

Chief Keithley thinks the river will crest sometime Friday, in the meantime residents of London Mills are banding together.

"We do this whenever it happens, basically everybody calls everybody else and we just get together and do what we gotta do," said Knox.