London Mills, Illinois is being evacuated after flooding turned from bad to worse on Thursday. No, we’re not talking about a few blocks of the town. Police are ordering the entire town out their homes. London Mills is not a big town — it’s actually more of a village with a population of 390 — but the prospect of the entire community being swept away by floodwaters is just another extraordinary disaster in an extraordinarily disastrous week.
The weather situation in Illinois isn’t isolated to London Mills. Heavy rains across the state have been causing problems all day as streams swelled into rivers and rivers grew into lakes in this mostly flat part of the country. The National Weather Service estimates that three to seven inches of rain have fallen on the Chicagoland in the last 24 hours. (April showers?) The storm corresponds with a 98-year-old water main breaking in Chicago. The break in the water main led to a breach in the sewage system which ultimately sucked up all of the surrounding soil. This created a sinkhole that swallowed three cars, injuring one person.
The trouble isn’t yet over. The water in London Mills is expected to continue rising through Friday morning, though hopefully the residents will have moved to higher ground by then. The situation in Chicago is calming down but clean up is bound to be complicated as many tunnels under the city have filled up with water, not to mention countless basements, streets and viaducts. It’s a mess.