GRAFTON, IL (KTVI) – It was a race against the clock in Grafton on Tuesday, as more than ten feet of water threatened homes and businesses in the quaint tourist town.
Road blocks along the Great River Road were among the many inconveniences caused by this flood. In the center of town, loading docks, parking lots and countless basements were all underwater.
Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson says the water level is projected to reach 29.4 feet, well above where it should be. “Sixteen is normal, first flood stage would be 18,” he says.
In anticipation of the worsening conditions, some water-level residents spent the day hauling all of their belongings into moving trucks. Jerry Eller decided to wait it out and protect his lower level with sandbags.
Still, he says that wasn’t enough: “I’ve got water coming up through cracks in the floor, so I have about 3,000 gallons an hour of pumps running down the basement keeping water out, and that seems to be keeping it down to about an inch.”
The flood isn’t the worst in Grafton’s history. Still, these high waters are impacting the city economically, from the cost of prepping and cleaning up, to the empty shops and restaurants in the meantime.
The mayor explains, “It has a major impact in terms of sales tax and business. To tell you that things are normal when we’re going through this wouldn’t be truthful.”
Officials say it could take several weeks for residents and business owners to recover from the flood.
Despite the deluge, Eller has a compelling reason to live right on the river. “I love it,” he says.