Dave Dahl -- Illinois Radio Network

Finishing a three-day New Year's weekend tour of central and southern Illinois flood damage, Gov. Bruce Rauner says the worst seems to be in the state's southern tip.

“Down in Alexander County, the water is still rising,” says the governor, “and the Mississippi River has breached levees in five different places. It's coming at a pretty rapid pace We've been going door to door, asking people to evacuate. Unfortunately, the majority of folks so far have refused to evacuate. And I understand why, if people are feisty and strong, they want to protect their homes. But it's very dangerous.

The governor says he was in almost daily contact to monitor the situation from his overseas vacation but ultimately decided to come back and see for himself.

Twelve counties have been declared state disaster areas.