Artorius Castus

Flooding On The Mississippi: Clarksville Doing All It Can

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on June 18, 2008

Last Edited: Tuesday, 17 Jun 2008, 9:17 PM CDT
Created: Tuesday, 17 Jun 2008, 4:33 PM CDT

(KTVI – —
An artists’ town where the Mississippi River is expected to crest at record levels Friday was hanging on with prayers from strangers and volunteers from as far away as sympathetic New Orleans.

The historic town of 500 people, midway between St. Louis and Hannibal, was in the same situation as other northeast Missouri communities that were trudging on, giving up, or suspending efforts Tuesday as they tried to meet the challenge of near-record flooding expected later in the week.

The picturesque, red-brick town’s antique mall and restaurants were surrounded by floodwaters as National Guard members, Missouri inmates and college students were sandbagging levees and buildings. A group from New Orleans, with painful memories of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, were due to arrive soon.

With five city blocks already swamped, Mayor Jo Anne Smiley said Clarksville was doing all it could to prepare for Friday’s projected 38-foot crest.

“We fix one thing and it breaks,” she said. “Sewers are plugged up. We have leaks in walls, and people who need things. We’re boating food to people.

“I cry a lot, but I get a lot of e-mail prayers. That helps.”

In the downtown, where buildings house shops of artisans and craft people, Guard members and dozens of volunteers worked on a massive sandbag wall, at places 12 feet wide and 8 feet tall, as the Mississippi River began to lap at its edges.

The Guard members, many of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, were glad to be helping in Missouri.

A couple in their 20s, Amanda Elliott and Victor Wright, have been working with volunteers since Friday to save his aunt’s home, where they’re staying. They used a boat to ferry sandbags through a yard filled with water.

“Yesterday morning, I just couldn’t lift another sandbag,” said the home’s owner, Roberta Hilton of Laurie. “I own the house, but at one point, I thought, ‘Is it worth it?”‘

South of Clarksville in Lincoln County the situation was deteriorating rapidly. Around noon, floodwaters began overtopping levees east of Foley, Old Monroe and northeast of Elsberry, along Highway 79. Sandbagging efforts were suspended at Foley, and the rapid water flow into low-lying areas was rising to 1993 levels. People were urged to evacuate.

To the north in Canton, emergency management director Jeff McReynolds said flood preparations would end Tuesday in anticipation of Wednesday’s predicted 27.5 foot crest. The river was at 26.2 feet in Canton on Tuesday.

Canton’s levee is designed for 24.5 feet of water, but it has a 3-foot extension. Volunteers have added 2 feet on top of that.

“We feel pretty good,” McReynolds said. “We’ve had 1,800 volunteers since the weekend. But it’s D-Day today. We have to be done today. We’re at 99 percent.”

McReynolds said his main fear is that 10 days of prolonged high water will place too much pressure on the levee.

“Am I nervous? Hell yes,” he said.

Levees at Canton and Hannibal, to the south, were the only ones from Burlington, Iowa, to St. Louis that held in what’s known as the Great Flood of 1993. Authorities in both towns believe their levees will hold during this flood too. Hannibal is so confident that it suspended sandbagging of its levee and flood wall on Tuesday.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” Hannibal Deputy Police Chief Lt. James Hark said. “The river has dropped a tad because of levee breaks north of us. We’re expecting a crest of 31.5 feet on the 19th or 20th. We’re at 27.74 now.”

Downtown businesses, including sites of the city’s most famous son, Mark Twain, were dry. “People are walking and driving,” Hark said. “It’s business as usual.”

Water covered some blocks that were transformed from residential to green space after the ’93 flood.

In La Grange, just south of Canton, 15 percent of the town of 1,000, which does not have a levee, had evacuated. Most of the town sits on a bluff, but homes and businesses are in low-lying places.

“The town will come back,” City Administrator Mark Campbell said. “But how it comes back may have to be rethought. Homes in the flood plain may have to move out and (placed) in a park.”

The tiny town of Alexandria, population 166, just south of the Iowa border abandoned sandbagging efforts on its 27-foot levee and evacuated Monday.

North of Alexandria, most of the 100 residents of St. Francisville on the Des Moines River had evacuated. It has no levee.

The Humane Society of Missouri opened a temporary shelter for pets Tuesday in Bowling Green at the Pike County Fairgrounds. People also could drop off pets at the Hannibal Humane Society or the Canton Veterinary Clinic for transfer to Bowling Green.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder said that by late Tuesday, he will have deployed nearly 500 National Guard members to flood-stricken communities. The Missouri Department of Corrections has dispatched 186 offenders to help fortify sandbags in Clarksville, Canton, Louisiana and Marion County.

and Further South, about 20 miles from here-

Last Edited: Monday, 16 Jun 2008, 11:21 PM CDT
Created: Monday, 16 Jun 2008, 9:46 PM CDT

(KTVI – —

Flood Waters Continue To Rise; Evacuations Requested In Winfield

The flood watch is now all along the Mississippi.

River neighbors are watching the water rise and hoping they can stay dry

But the water is everywhere.

Many low lying areas already seeing the rising rivers spill onto their property

It’s not exactly like the great flood of 1993, but for those most affected by the flooding it will come close.

From the upper Midwest down into Missouri and Illinois, the damage could reach into the billions and in some spots the crest isn’t even expected until later this week.

We have a team of reports on the flood watch, from Clarksville, Winfield, Grafton, and downtown St. Louis.

FOX KTVI seems to have the most people on scene. Its kind of eerie to know a wall of water is coming that will crest the levees. There are three of them within 20 miles of here in the other direction from Winfield. We are sitting in between the Mississipi and the Missouri Rivers; in 2003 most of the roads across the Rivers and Ferries were closed. This time its supposed to worse, but not as bad as ’93..


This a pic we took in Alton, Ill, right over the river from us in 2003..

Alton, Ill 2003


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