Levee breech threatens rural southern Illinois towns, Cape Girardeau largely spared

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ALEXANDER COUNTY, IL - Gov. Bruce Rauner is again urging people to leave Alexander County homes threatened by levee failures in southern Illinois.  Speaking to reporters Saturday at Carlyle Lake in Clinton County, Rauner said some residents are leaving, but others are staying put. He says the situation is especially “life threatening'' because of the risk of hypothermia from cold temperatures.

A Mississippi River levee near Miller City, IL was breeched Saturday. The area affected is mostly agricultural, but about 500 people living in the towns of Olive Branch, Hodges Park, and Unity, who were protected by the levee are being told to move to higher ground.

The Governor has been visiting as many communities as possible in the 12 counties he's declared disaster areas and he plans to conclude three days of touring flood-damaged areas on Sunday.  The governor says he's heartened that Illinois residents are coming together to help people whose homes and businesses have been affected by flooding.

Authorities in southeast Missouri say the Mississippi River crested below predictions there and has begun receding. Molly Hood, Cape Girardeau's deputy city manager, said Saturday the river didn't reach the anticipated high crests, but that was likely from levee breaches on the Illinois side. She says the impact has been "relatively mild" to Cape Girardeau, a community of nearly 40,000, where about two dozen homes and a dozen businesses have been damaged by the flood. Hood says the city's floodwall and several levees have protected Cape Girardeau.