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Morgan and Scott Counties Plan for Weather Disasters

Updated: Wednesday, February 12 2014, 11:07 AM CST
Staying safe when severe weather strikes. 2 Illinois counties now joining forces to create a natural hazards mitigation planning committee.
Both counties experiencing weather emergenices over the last few years officials are working together to reduce or eliminate damage caused
by storms. Newschannel at 9's Lindsey Hess explains.

This was the scene at Jacksonville's water treatment plant in 2011after heavy rains flooded parts of the city.

"We collected from ice storms, to tornadoes, we had a real bad flood. So
all these things have come together now to see what we can do to help
mitigate this...build a levy, put a new storm sewer in or something like
that," said South Jacksonville Police Chief, Richard Evans.

The committee consists of individuals from Morgan and Scott county
communities, emergency officials, the American Red Cross and other
organizations.

"They say we all talk, but sometimes we don't and
this brought a large group of people together to talk about what their
needs are whether it be just in a city a village or even the whole
county," Evans said.

And the Morgan and Scott County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan is something that has never been done before.

"That's one of the misconceptions about this process. People think well hey we
have an emergency response plan. No, this is not emergency response.
This is a plan to develop projects before the storms hit," said Greg
Michaud, manager of environmental services at Johnson, Depp &
Quisenberry in Springfield.

Officials are hoping once the plan is fully developed, the federal government will provide money to help with projects.

"This
is a plan that will go on for years. In other words, when money becomes
available from the federal government, they will look at our priority
list in each community to see what is needed and see what funding is
available," Evans said.

And once the plan comes to fruition, officials say Morgan and Scott counties will be better protected when disaster strikes.

"The
most important thing in this planning process is to protect public
health, and protect our roads, and other critical infrastructure,"
Michaud said.

A public forum is coming up February 20 to get
feedback from both Scott and Morgan county residents. It will be held
from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the South Jacksonville Fire Department. Evans
says working with Scott County has been extremely beneficial because the
communities are able to share concerns and ideas. He expects the plan
to be completed in the next few months. Morgan and Scott Counties Plan for Weather Disasters


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