Main Street in downtown Grafton only accessible by boat

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GRAFTON, Ill. – The Illinois National Guard is in Grafton now helping to fight the flood there. Parts of the town are already underwater but people are working hard to save what they can. Many in the town are working on a floodwall trying to save city hall, a local bank and some businesses from the still rising water. “It`s overwhelming,” said Susan Eller about the floodwaters surrounding much of the Grafton home where she and her husband Jerry have lived in for 15 years. It`s close to the Mississippi River but they`ve never had so much floodwater all around their house. Their home is still dry but the water is almost inside. They have their appliances elevated and are trying to make the best of it…fishing off their porch. “Kind of startling actually you know that it`s this high,” said Susan. “We moved everything out and we had a bunch of stuff in the house that we got stored right now,” added Jerry. Many homes and businesses in Grafton are underwater. Among them…the popular Loading Dock restaurant. The restaurant`s owner Peter Allen told us, “The Loading Dock is going on over seven weeks closed now, over 80 employees displaced, it`s tough.” At the Grafton Oyster Bar, they are moving out food from coolers. The restaurant is on the second floor at Grafton Harbor and is dry but the water got so high that it had to close for safety and access reasons. “This is probably going to be the second-worst flood of all time. There`s definitely a financial impact that all the owners and citizens of Grafton definitely go through,” explained Brad Hagen, the owner of the Grafton Oyster Bar. He also owns Abigail`s Taproom, another restaurant in town. A dozen Illinois National Guard troops arrived Tuesday morning to help with the floodwall now up on part of Main Street. There is so much water that is coming up through sewer drains and cracks in the street. The Guard is helping to shore up problem areas—Grafton Mayor Rick Eberlin is thankful for the help. “Grafton is going to make it- we will bounce back from this. The clean-up is going to be equally as intense as the preventative measures we`ve had,” said Eberlin. The Mississippi River in Grafton is slated to crest Thursday at 35.5 feet. That`s the second highest crest ever only to the Great Flood of 93. That crest was actually lowered from 36 feet which was some good news to the people in Grafton. In a visit to Grafton Tuesday afternoon, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker talked about the historic nature of the flooding and the incredible amount of people including volunteers who have stepped up to help in Grafton. Pritzker pledged state resources including more National Guard to help impacted communities like Grafton fight the historic floods.

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