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Grafton warily watching Mississippi River's rise

Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:21 a.m. CDT

GRAFTON — The mayor of the touristy Mississippi River town of Grafton in southwestern Illinois says the river's rise already has forced a downtown barbecue restaurant to evacuate.

But Tom Thompson isn't expecting many more businesses in the 670-resident town 40 miles north of St. Louis to follow suit unless the forecast changes dramatically.

The National Weather Service says the Mississippi at Grafton is more than 6 feet above flood stage as of Tuesday morning. The forecast calls for the river to rise another 3 feet before cresting early Saturday.

Grafton has chosen not to build any defenses against the river. City leaders believe a levee or other barrier would obstruct the view of the waterway.

Thompson says Grafton residents "have learned to accept our fate and our location."

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