Watseka residents stay at emergency shelter due to flooding

WATSEKA (FOX 32 News) - Flooding is causing major problems in Watseka, Illinois.

The small town is 90 miles south of Chicago and just west of the Indiana state line. It is bordered on three sides by the ever rising Iroquois River and Sugar Creek. The high water has closed more than 20 streets, and the fire department evacuated residents from their homes overnight.

The good news is it appears the worst is over: the waterways have crested and there have been no injuries. The bad news, though, is the folks in town just got done cleaning up from the last flood.

“They had done about 27 evacuations and they are still working around the clock,” said Mayor Bob Harwood.

The views from the sky are impressive with the West Side of town under water and businesses and homes flooded.

Mayor Harwood says this December flood is almost as bad as the flood in July, which was said to be a "100 year" flood.

And for those dealing with this, that's the worst part: the one-two punch of two major floods.

“The worst thing I've seen was my visit to the shelter earlier today to talk to people that lost personal belongings and possessions in July, and lost them again, that's heartbreaking,” said Mayor Harwood.

Like Annette Nixon and her family, who are seeking shelter at a local church where Red Cross is stationed and donations are coming in.

“We had just gotten a new furnace and a new water heater and we had the washer and dryer fixed the last time,” Nixon said.

Nixon’s basement is one of dozens ruined, again. 

"There is six feet in my basement, it's gone up my stairway and it's just like this far from the door,” she added.

The Iroquois River and Sugar Creek, which surround the town, crested 5 to 8 feet above flood stage and appear to be falling.

“Our big issue is getting rid of it. Once it’s here, it doesn't' go away. The fall between us and where our water flows in is almost nil. So, it's going to sit here for a while."

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