Historic Flooding Delivers Tough Blow To Illinois River Resort

<p>Historic flooding along the Illinois River has a summertime resort under water.</p>

Monday, December 28th 2015, 7:24 pm

We’ve seen historic flooding along the Illinois River - the Scenic Rivers Commission said the river has crested at 30.7 feet; that's almost three feet higher than the previous record set in the 1950s.

The good news is that the water is now starting to go down just a bit, but the damage has been done.

12/28/2015 Related Story: Illinois River Crests At All Gages, Scenic Rivers Commission Says

What's a summertime resort for some is home year around to Eric Stephens – a home now standing in about ten feet of water.

“See the War Eagle sign, floating right here? “That's actually screwed to my front porch,” he said. “I was born out here. I've lived out here 30 years and never before have I seen anything like this. It's pretty crazy.”

Stephens’ family opened War Ear Resort in the 70s and they've been building it into a big business on the Illinois River ever since - with canoes, rafts and cabins, many of which are now under water.

“Built it from nothing; it's kind of tough to see,” Stephens said.

His family spent the early morning hours of Monday moving what they could.

“The good thing about this, if there could be any good out of it, is that we knew,” he said.

Some buses and canoes made it to higher ground, others did not; they just couldn't get to everything.

“It'll be a hit for sure,” Stephens said.

The hits seem to keep coming for Stephens and his family in 2015 - a year they will never forget, and one they hope to never repeat.

“We dealt with six floods this summer and then this is like insult to injury. And then you gotta start dealing with the snow, too. We'll get through it,” he said.

Monday, the focus has been making sure everyone is safe and on higher ground.

The Scenic Rivers Commission said it can’t even begin to guess how many homes, families and businesses have been impacted.

The commission and other emergency responders are begging folks not be driving because there are so many roads flooded and it’s still a very dangerous situation.


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