High Waters Rage Down The Illinois

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 7:23 pm
By: News On 6

The water of the Illinois River was on the rise Wednesday night.  Riverside resorts say it's the highest they've seen it since the 1980's.  News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports the flooding is posing some threat.

This is the off-season for Archie Peyton.  He runs a canoeing, rafting and kayaking resort on the Illinois River.  In 40 years Peyton says he's only seen the river this high two other times.

"We've seen it 23 and a half feet a couple of times. Once in 1974 and once in 86," said Archie Peyton.

Some of the resorts' canoes are barely above water and his neighbor's bus is likely ruined.

"Here comes a life jacket down the water there. I'd say that's coming from Eagle Bluff. They lost a few picnic tables earlier today," said Archie Peyton.

Peyton says damage at his resort will be minimal.  Everything is built high enough, just in case.  But, he does worry what will happen downstream.

"Just a lot of water! Tenkiller's going to get full. So, people down river's going to have some water to deal with," said Archie Peyton.

Meanwhile, he says, the surge of water he's dealing with may only happen once every 20 years, but being prepared for this possibility makes it manageable.

"So we'll just wait till it goes down and clean up and get ready for the regular season," said Archie Peyton.

Peyton said he did have some spring break canoeing trips scheduled for this week, but obviously those have been canceled.

The Illinois River is expected to crest early Thursday morning at 21.5 feet.  That's more than 10 feet above flood stage.

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