Families Along Illinois River Preparing For Potential Flooding

Friday, April 28th 2017, 7:33 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Families living along the Illinois River are preparing for the worst because of all the rain in the forecast.

The river in Tahlequah is at about 10 feet - a little higher than usual – and families who live nearby are getting ready for the potential of the river to double.

In a tucked away neighborhood 20 miles north of Tahlequah is a group of people who love living along the Illinois River, despite how bad the flooding can get.

Richard and Pam Cheek raised their family on the same part of the river he grew up on.

"You feed ‘em fish a day they'll eat for a day, you teach ‘em how to fish, by God, they'll eat for the rest of their life," he said.

He said no amount of flooding could make him move.

Richard: "Good fishing - we catch catfish. I wouldn't give it up for nothing.”
Pam: “I told him, if it gets up any further than what it did before, yes we're gonna build us a two-bedroom log home back away from the river where it'll never flood.”
Richard: "And I'm building a man cave right off over here."

The Cheek family said in December 2015, the water from the Illinois River went up to the top of the hill; they're not expecting it to get that high this weekend, but they're preparing for anything.

Pam is saving a few things while it's still dry outside, loading up a van with clothes and other valuables.

But, they said even if they weren't taking the time to prepare for the days ahead, they know they'll be alright.

"Perks about living in Oklahoma is we got good friends, and they've already called and said, ‘Hey, call us three in the morning, whenever, we'll be out here.’ The cavalry will arrive and they'll help us get everything moved out and get it ready," they said.

The River Forecast Center is projecting the Illinois River to crest at nearly 25 feet by Sunday night.