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Swollen Mississippi River forces southern Illinois evacuation

EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, Ill. – The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued 17 people and three dogs from floodwaters in Alexander County in southern Illinois.

Coast Guard officials said Wednesday small, lightweight, flat bottom boats that are suitable for navigating floodwaters in urban areas were deployed to help residents affected by the high waters of the Mississippi River.

According to the Nationa Weather Service, the Mississippi crested at Cape Girardeau, Missouri at 46.4 feet, and will fall slowly.

Captain Scott Stoermer says the Coast Guard’s Western Rivers Flood Punt Team spent over seven hours Tuesday conducting operations, which included evacuating people from a flooded trailer park.

The evacuation of mobile homes at East Cape Girardeau, Illinois was forced by a decision to cut off power because of the swollen river, which made electrical lines a hazard.

Stoermer said the Coast Guard is standing by to assist Alexander County if future assistance is requested.

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