SPRINGFIELD — Rock Island and Henry counties are among 38 declared as state disaster areas by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
Storms swamped much of the state Wednesday and Thursday, as flash floods and rising rivers and streams forced evacuations, destroyed homes and businesses, closed roads and knocked out power.
Rock Island, Henry, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, Tazewell and Woodford are among those designated as disaster areas. The move will speed and expand the counties' access to state emergency resources and allow Illinois to formally pursue federal relief and assistance.
"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," Quinn said. "As we wait for the floods to pass, all Illinois residents should continue to take precautions, and stay off the roads if possible."
To respond to the floods, several state departments will help local communities, including:
— The Illinois Department of Transportation, posting information about and closing roads.
— The Illinois State Police, who have helped motorists stranded by floodwaters.
— The Illinois National Guard, with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, coordinating if troops are needed to assist flooded communities.
— The Illinois Department of Corrections, which has 30 inmates at the Pittsfield Work Camp in Pike County filing sandbags for local public safety officials.
— The Illinois Department of Public Health, which is helping local public health departments, hospitals and medical offices in the affected areas with tetanus shot information.
The American Red Cross also has assisted by opening shelters, including one in Roanoke.
For flood safety information, visit Ready.Illinois.gov
For traffic updates, visit GettingAroundIllinois.com