After the publication of the blog post, the Illinois Emergency Management confirmed the levee breach with a video and comment on their facebook page.
Here’s video from a flyover of a levee breach west of Miller City in Alexander County. The video was shot by the Illinois State Police today (1/2/16)
Posted by Illinois Emergency Management Agency on Saturday, January 2, 2016
Click to see the video on the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Facebook Page if you are not able to see the video above.
The USGS has done several measurements comparing the river level to the flow (or the amount of water in the river) at the Thebes, IL river gauge which is just upstream of the levee breach. The measurements represented in the graph below with the red flow. The text next to the star highlights the flow they measured.
In addition preliminary reports from colleagues with the USGS are indicating that ~ 197,000 cfs of water is was flowing through the breach area which is 20% of the amount of water in the Mississippi River.
River levels along the Mississippi River south of St Louis are hitting record levels. Early this morning the Mississippi River at Thebes, IL rose to 47.74 ft. but then had an interesting decline.
After analyzing information from the surrounding area, we suspect that the drop in river levels was due to over-topping or a breach of the Len Small levee which is just downstream of the Thebes, IL river gauge.
While the Illinois Dept of Emergency management has not yet provided updates, they did issue on Thursday (12/31/15) emergency evacuation orders for residents in low lying areas behind the Len Small levee.