After touring the flood-threatened Cairo area on Friday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, called on courts to act quickly in a dispute between the state of Missouri and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is considering breaching a levee on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River to save Cairo.


After touring the flood-threatened Cairo area on Friday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, called on courts to act quickly in a dispute between the state of Missouri and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is considering breaching a levee on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River to save Cairo.

“It is a troubling and dangerous situation,” Durbin told reporters at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.

U.S. Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. on Friday ruled against Missouri, which says that dynamiting the levee, as the Corps has proposed, would ruin prime farmland and displace as many as 200 people.

Cairo has a population of about 2,800.

Missouri appealed the decision, and the case was before a court in St. Louis Friday evening.

“I hope the court will rule today,” Durbin said shortly before 5 p.m.

Durbin said the situation is so precarious that he witnessed a National Guardsman break through a road weakened by sand boils.

“It turned out it had been completely washed out,” Durbin said. “The thickness of the road was only an inch or two.”

If the appeals court rules in favor of the federal government, Missouri could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Durbin said, but the issue could be moot if the appeals court does not issue an injunction barring the Corps from breaching the levee.

 

Bruce Rushton can be reached at 788-1542.

 

April showers set new record

The statewide average rainfall for Illinois in April set a record at 7.45 inches.

That’s nearly double the typical average rainfall for April of 3.83 inches. It also beat the old record of 7.13 inches set in 1957, according to state climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.

The record could go higher if more rain falls today.

Rainfall totals through April 29 ranged from 4 to 6 inches in northern Illinois and 4 to 10 inches in central Illinois to 10 to 15 inches in southern Illinois.

The highest totals were in far southern Illinois. For example, Anna reported 20.01 inches, the most in the state. Brookport reported 15.29 inches, and Cairo reported 15.13 inches.

The statewide average temperature for April was 52.6 degrees, one-half of 1 degree above average, but fluctuated widely during the month. Temperatures ranged from 93 degrees at Kaskaskia on April 11 to 18 degrees at Marengo on April 1.

Statewide records go back to 1895.

-- Staff report