Towns brace for Mississippi River flooding

GRAFTON, Ill. (KSDK) - Towns along the Mississippi River are bracing for high water ahead of the holiday weekend. Flood waters along the Great River Road are expected to rise over the next week.

River cities like Grafton have a well-practiced plan in place, because residents and businesses say they understand the river carries both the power destroy, and the power to provide.

"We draw in thousands of people every weekend because they want to be close to the water," said Ben Allen, owner of The Loading Dock in Grafton.

When Allen's restaurant flooded the year after he opened, which was more than two decades ago, he rebuilt with concrete and steel, and installed garage doors.

"If the flood does come, we go in, scrub it down with a fire hose and bleach, and we're in business quite frankly as soon as the water goes down," said Allen.

Allen expects his restaurant to stay above water this time. A different restaurant, upriver, is the only one in town that may have to close if the forecast is correct. But if that changes, Congressman Rodney Davis says he'll be there to help.

"Grafton has done such an amazing job of bringing so many tourists to southwestern Illinois," said Congressman Davis. "And we want the mayor to know, and the community to know, we're here to assist."

The congressman met with the Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson Wednesday to discuss plans for the flood, which include closing flooded roads and providing detours.

"Grafton has learned to adapt to the unpredictability of that river. At times like this it can be a little bit of a nuisance, but we always remember if we live in Grafton, that's why we live here. We want to be on the river," said Grafton Mayor Tom Thompson.

The city has a big Fourth of July celebration scheduled for this weekend. Mayor Thompson says it will go on as planned.


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