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Marseilles Orders Evacuations As Illinois River Floods

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Officials in the city of Marseilles, in LaSalle County, have ordered mandatory evacuations for dozens of homes, as the Illinois River continues to flood in the wake of heavy storms over the past couple days.

City officials said the mandatory evacuation order affects homes south of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, and east of Main Street. It was not immediately clear how many homes were affected, but easily several dozen homes are located in that section of Marseilles.

Residents evacuating their homes must be out by 2 p.m., and won't be allowed back after that time. Those being forced out of their homes can go to the Lion's Club or American Legion post in Marseilles, officials said.

Illinois River Marseilles
The Illinois River in Marseilles was well above official flood stage and still rising Wednesday, threatening dozens of homes, and prompting a mandatory evacuation order for many residents on Feb. 21, 2018. (Credit: CBS)

According to the National Weather Service, the Illinois River was well above flood stage Wednesday morning.

In nearby Morris, just east of Marseilles, the river measured at 22.14 feet as of 8:45 a.m., or more than six feet above flood stage. In Ottawa, just west of Marseilles, and downstream from the Marseilles lock and dam system, the Illinois River measured at 469.68 feet as of 8:30 a.m., or more than six feet above flood stage for Ottawa.

While the river had not yet started flooding streets in Marseilles as of late Wednesday morning, water was right up to the edge of some dirt roads along the riverbank, and the river was still rising and not expected to crest until Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Multiple flood warnings have been issued along the Illinois River in LaSalle County, as well as the Fox River and the Vermilion River.

City officials in Marseilles were asking for volunteers to help with sandbagging at the sewage treatment plant. Volunteers should report to Marseilles City Hall, or call 815-795-0446.

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