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Rising floodwaters threaten downtown Alton, Illinois

ALTON, Ill. – Communities along the Mississippi River may see record flooding in the upcoming days. While many towns are preparing for what may come, a business in Alton is preparing for an event that draws thousands of people.

This weekend, Mac's Downtown Alton will be hosting its annual Kentucky Derby celebration including live entertainment. Mac Lenhardt, owner of Mac's, said they expect up to ten thousand people on Saturday.

On Thursday afternoon, Alton Public Works Director Robert Barnhart said the water rose about 18 inches in just 20 minutes. Flooding has already forced several roads closed including Route 100 from US-67 to IL-16.

The Argosy Casino Alton will be closed beginning at 4 a.m. Friday until further notice due to expected flooding in the parking lot.

Visitors to Alton this weekend can park in several lots just north of downtown. Mac's will provide golf cart shuttles between the lot and the restaurant.

Just over the Mississippi River in West Alton, part of Highway 94 is closed. A voluntary evacuation order has been issued for the town which sits between the rising Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

"Folks that live in the area, they kind of know what will happen at certain levels with the water, with the river and what is projected, so they know what they need to know and how they need to do it," said Chief Rick Pender with the Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District.

Just west of Portage Des Sioux, crews worked to build a flood wall using rocks and concrete barricades to keep the water from spilling over Portage Road. A couple of roads near the river are already flooded.

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