In the wake of widespread flooding from a major spring storm, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn declared a state of emergency.
Governor Quinn continued to survey flooded areas Sunday and added Ogle and Stark counties to his state disaster declaration, bringing the number of counties that can now get expanded access to state emergency resources to 44 and allowing the state to pursue federal relief and support.
Hours after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declared a state of emergency in response to torrential rain and widespread flooding leaving many towns underwater, he declared 38 counties as state disaster areas. As disaster areas continued to be surveryed throughout the weekend, the number of counties in the declaration grew.
“Illinois has seen an incredible level of devastation and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” Quinn said in a statement. “We want to ensure that every county gets the assistance they need and this declaration will give every affected community access to available resources."
Counties declared disasters include: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Fulton, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McHenry, Mercer, Morgan, Peoria, Pike, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Scott, Tazewell, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.
The designation means state resources can be made available to help communities recover from flooding and damage. Quinn's office said the state plans to mobilize heavy equipment, work crews and security assistance to assist with disaster recovery.
"Heavy rainfall over the past few days has created dangerous flooding in areas across the state," Quinn said. "Everyone should stay home and off the roads if possible. To ensure safety as these storms continue, people should be alert and avoid flooded areas."
Quinn headed to the Chicago area Thursday morning to survey flood damage after a torrential downpour dumped several inches of rain on the region.
"We have to do this together as a family," Quinn told reporters." When we have any kind of emergency, we work together for the common good. We help each other."
Quinn said a hospital in Morris had to be evacuated as well as two trailer parks currently under water. Residents have lost whole rooms of belongings, and in Chicago a sinkhole swallowed three cars, injuring a man.
Several towns have independently declared a state of emergency, including Lisle, Lombard and Elmhurst.
"We encourage people to stay off the roads and if you do have to be somewhere, please slow down because the water then creates a wave effect that will flood people's home," Elmhurst City Manager Jim Grabowski said.
Quinn activated the State Incident Response Center, which allows officials the ability to assess flooding and severe weather in several areas of the state and expedite assistance that may be needed by local public safety officials to protect citizens.
Quinn emphasized the need to work together, noting state officials are ensuring public safety in the following ways, as detailed in a statement from the governor's office:
"I urge everyone to stay alert and avoid flooded areas," Governor Quinn said. "Residents should tune in to local TV and radio stations for updated information about any closed routes or evacuations."
For more information on flood safety and real-time updates on today's storms, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov.