Illinois River Flooding Keeps Outfitters On Alert
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - Rainwater left over from recent thunderstorms is still draining into the Illinois River, causing some flood damage in Tahlequah.
Emergency Management there says the river crested Sunday just under 20 feet and is now dropping, but the water has already caused some problems.
Business owners along the Illinois River are no strangers to flooding, but every time the water rises here, people like Chuck Eastham can only hope things don't get any worse.
"This is like an everyday float trip today compared to last year. Last year, where we are standing at right now would be under water," said Eastham.
Eastham owns Falcons Floats, a summertime resort along the Illinois river and knows the drill well.
"It brings a concern every time you just got to prepare yourself and get things to higher ground," he said.
Eastham's campground is now about 7 feet underwater.
"Our campground got underwater this time which is picnic tables, trash cans, etc, so that's minor things that we can move to higher ground," he said.
Eastham's live stage on site is now halfway underwater as well.
"We won't know what the damage is or nothing like that until it resides back down in the banks. To see what's below all this," he said.
Despite the damage, Eastham said Mother Nature won't keep them down. He said with the help of his neighbors, he's preparing to have everything up and running for Memorial Day Weekend.
"We have a strong community here in Cherokee County. We all come together and help one another," he said.