MARION - Slowly, but surely, the floodwaters are receding. Still, it's going to be a while before Williamson County is back to normal so to speak after dealing with more than 12 inches of precipitation from Friday evening until Monday morning.
On Monday, Marion city workers were busy clearing debris from drainage ditches and creek canals so that the excess water could flow more freely.
Street superintendent Doug Phillips said he did not know of any instances in which water remained over the roads, but pointed out that water levels were still well above normal to the south and west of town.
"It's probably going to take a week or more to get it all cleared out of here," Phillips said of the flooding. "And that's if we don't get a bunch more rain later in the week."
Phillips said city workers had two Vactor trucks cleaning up clogged pipes throughout the community, as well as backhoes and street sweepers removing additional debris from the roadway.
Williamson County highway engineer Greg Smothers said his biggest concern over the weekend was the bridge on Spillway Road west of Carterville. The bridge is located over Little Grassy Creek, which pulls in water from Little Grassy Lake.
"It (the bridge) started eroding as did the pavement three or four feet underneath," Smothers said. "We had to stabilize the area with 150 tons of rip rap. The erosion was because the water level had risen so high and the sheer volume, pressure and speed of the water affected the wing wall to the bridge."
Smothers said there were also some issues with washed out pipe in a culvert on Joliet Lane, northwest of Marion.
"It was an area about 10 feet long and 5 feet deep," he said.
Although Marion High School was open for class Monday, the east parking lot was out of commission due to flooding.
Williamson County Emergency Management Agency Director Kelly Urhahn said the water must recede more before a true assessment of the damage left behind can be made.
"Residents who have received any type of damage to their living area or had to be evacuated because of the flooding should contact our office at (618) 998-2123 if they haven't done so already," she said.
Urhahn said American Red Cross workers were in Herrin Monday assisting five or six families who reside near the intersection of 5th and Pine streets. They had to be evacuated by boat on Saturday.
The Red Cross established temporary headquarters at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marion to tend to displaced residents, most of whom came from the Lighthouse Shelter in Marion.
Claudia Blackman, Red Cross volunteer, said all was going well at the church Monday. Some displaced residents, she said, have been able to get back into their homes, or they've found people they can stay with for a while.
"Our numbers in the shelter are kind of winding down for now. If all of these people left, we'd probably shut the shelter down with the idea that we'd open it back up if we needed to, but we'd probably give everybody at least 24 hours advance notice of what we're doing, so it kind of depends on what happens."
As of Monday morning, only six residents were still housed in the shelter, down from 22-23 over the weekend.
Timothy Rogers, Lighthouse Shelter resident, said when he woke up Saturday morning, he could see that the road was flooded, though the waters had not entered the building.
By 7:30, though, the waters had started coming in through the sewage pipes and through the kitchen.
At about 9:30, the Marion Fire Department evacuated the facility and brought residents over to the Marion Senior Center, and later to St. Joseph.
Lighthouse administrators are working on finding a place of residence for Rogers and other shelter residents, though the amount of damage to local communities is making the search difficult.
Co-director of the shelter, Wanda Zwick, said that the building is currently being cleaned and dried out, with repairs beginning to the interior. There is currently no timeline for moving residents back in, though once the inside of the building is dried out, it will be easier to create a timeline.