Thursday, May 10, 2007

Updated Waters Rising On Missouri River

We had a little excitement at work Sunday night. I saw a couple of people wearing orange vest walking around over by the railroad tracks and levee system, within 100 yards of the building I work in. A few minutes later I heard the night watchman (on the radio) telling the plant supervisor that we had city and railroad officials on the property. They were afraid they would have to tear out the tracks and sand bag the area where they go through the levee system. When I got off work at 23:00 the tracks had been removed but the sand bags hadn't arrived. Saint Joseph, Missouri officials and residents are getting ready for the flood of 2007 and remembering the flood of 1993. That one left us without safe drinking water for about two weeks. We now have a new water plant so that shouldn't happen again.



Waters rising on Missouri River
Officials order evacuation along Waterworks Road

Clinton Thomas
Agribusiness Reporter

City and county officials called an emergency meeting Sunday as weekend storms pushed the Missouri River to levels not seen since 1993.

Mandatory evacuation orders went into effect for residents along Waterworks Road north of Tyrone Street, while voluntary evacuation began around Lake Contrary. Officials in Elwood, Kan., passed out fliers to notify the public of the impending flood.

As of Sunday night, the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, based in Kansas City and Pleasant Hill, Mo., predicted the river to crest at 28.9 feet Wednesday, slightly below the 32.1-foot record set during the flood of 1993.

Mary Carpenter, public information officer for the city, said plans have begun to bring roughly 200,000 sandbags into town starting this morning to shore up low points and levees. Missouri Highway 759 will close when the river reaches 25 feet so a sandbag levee can be built.

At 27 feet, the Bubble Creek flood gate will close, which could affect the city's wastewater treatment plant. At that point, efforts will begin to pump water over the levee. Ms. Carpenter said she was unsure if that scenario would cause sewers to back up.

"We hope that because the river went up so fast, it might not crest as high," Ms. Carpenter said.

Other communities around Northwest Missouri experienced flooding and evacuations Sunday.

Ms. Carpenter was hesitant to compare this flood to the one in 1993, citing differences between the two.

"In 1993 it was a river flood with a slow rise," Ms. Carpenter said. "This time we've had a lot of rain at once and the ground is more saturated, so the river rose really quick."

Thirty-one people were evacuated from 21 mobile homes in a community on the north edge of Cameron when Rockwood Creek jumped its banks.

None of the homes sustained any flood damage, but residents were evacuated via fire truck because rising waters would isolate the area and could prove dangerous if the water continued to rise.

Residents originally were taken to Cameron High School, but all found a place to sleep with families or friends, according to Karla Long, emergency services director for the Midland Empire Red Cross.

"It's typical small-town America that they all know someone who will take them in," Ms. Long said.

Multiple road closings detoured traffic throughout the area. The 102 River flooded at multiple points, closing roads around Rosendale and Bolckow, to name a few. The Tarkio River flooded as well, closing U.S. Highway 136 east of Tarkio.



As I write this it sounds like the rain is letting up, maybe we'll get a break. I'd still like to ask you to say a prayer for all the residents of this area.

Thanks go to:
The St. Joseph News-Press

God Bless America, God Save The Republic


Updated 5/7/07, 11:57 AM

It looks like I'll be updating this from time to time just to keep you up on what's going on. My Sister lives out in the country, south of Saint Joseph. When I talked with her this morning she said the road to their house is closed. She said that she heard someone on the news say this will be worse than the flood of 1993. About a month ago I read an article that said the flood of 93 caused more of a monetary loss than Hurricane Katrina. The St. Joseph News-Press has posted an update at it's web site, a section of Interstate 29 is closed.


Counties prepare for evacuations (Updated 10:51 A.M.)
10:51 A.M.

In St. Joseph, Lake Contrary and Bessie Ellison Elementary schools will close today at 11:30 a.m. The St. Joseph School District made the decision mid-morning as a precautionary measure of flooding in the area.

Students at Central High School and Bode Middle School who ride buses 5 and 9 to the Lake Contrary area will also be dismissed at 11:30 as will Central and Bode students who ride buses 26 and 30 to the Ellison area. Also, child care services at Lake and Ellison are cancelled today.

10:16 A.M.
Nearly a dozen areas in Nodaway County are closed or are being monitored at the 102, Platte, and Nodaway rivers.

Road closing include: Highway 113 is closed South of Skidmore; Route DD is closed about a mile west of Skidmore; Highway 46 is closed about 10 miles West of Maryville; Dragonfly Road Near Quitman, Mo., is closed; Highway 136, just West of Burlington Junction, mo., near Catlina Road is closed; 290th Street between Hawk and Hallmark Road is closed; Fox Road inside Maryville is closed; Jet Road is closed off 136 and south of Maryville by the old airport; Route U is closed between Arkoe and Maryville: 395th Street is closed between Highway 71 and Icon Road; Jayhawk Road in Barnard, Mo., is closed and Route VV West of Conception, Mo., is closed at the Platte River bridge.

In addition the Nodaway County Sheriff's department is monitoring an area on Highway 71 South of Pumpkin Center. Also, the 102 River east of Maryville has not crested the banks yet but is being monitored.

In Holt County, Sheriff's Department reports that Highway 111 North of Forest City and that Interstate 29 between mile markers 84 and 92 near Mound City is closed.

9:54 A.M.
In Atchison County on the Missouri side, the Sheriff's Department reports that the Tarkio River and Nodaway River flooding has closed highways and county roads.

Crews are working to open Highway 136 East of Tarkio where the Tarkio River has flooded. Highway 136 was closed Sunday afternoon. The Tarkio River levels has also closed Highway C four miles East of Westboro and Highway 59 between Tarkio and Fairfax. Highway 46 is closed at Route EE, which is about 8 miles East of Fairfax.

9:03 A.M.
Law enforcement and emergency management officials prepared Doniphan County residents Monday morning for evacuations due to rising floodwaters from the Missouri River.

Sheriff Jerry Dubach said authorities have created a command center at the firehouse in Elwood in advance of a predicted 31-foot river crest Tuesday. The river will overrun the town's levees when it reaches 32 feet.

"They've got a plan in effect down there," Mr. Dubach said. "It (crest) is coming quicker than expected."

The county's emergency response called for ordering Elwood residents to pack up belongings now that the river stage reached 27 feet Monday morning, he said. A mandatory evacuation will occur when the river reaches 29 feet. Fliers have been printed to warn residents of the impending evacuation.

The Corps is predicting the Missouri River will crest at 31 feet sometime tomorrow, said Elwood mayor Lawrence Mays. Mr. Mays said the Corps doesn't expect the river to overrun the levee. Currently, the city isn't sandbagging.

Elsewhere in the county, Mr. Dubach said water over the road has forced the closing of Kansas Highway 7 north of White Cloud. Floodwaters are also covering Main Street in White Cloud, he said.


As far as I know Missouri Highway 759 is still opened, I'll be using that to get to work at 23:00. The plant I work at is on 759. Part of the levee system is right outside the back door of the building I work in. I'll keep you updated as news comes in.

Thanks go to:
The St. Joseph News-Press

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.


Updated 5/9/07, 5:06 AM

It looks like the threat of another flood has come and gone.

Waters begin to recede

Ray Scherer
Regional Reporter

Emergency responders in St. Joseph and elsewhere in the region started to ratchet down their efforts Tuesday as a swollen Missouri River began to recede.

In other areas, however, relief continued as the river's tributaries topped their banks and threatened homes and businesses. But after a nervous two days, most communities congratulated themselves for two things: that the river didn't rise as much as predicted and that many residents stepped forward to volunteer to fill sandbags.

For St. Joseph, the drier weather gave the opportunity to start assessing damage and close down temporary emergency response offices. Public Works Director Bruce Woody reported that the river crested at 25.2 feet at 6 a.m.

That number avoided a predicted crest of 28.5 feet by early Tuesday afternoon, he said. It also eased worries for the fate of the city's wastewater treatment plant, Mr. Woody added, where sandbags were ready just in case.

In fact, St. Joseph had enough residual sandbags to share with other cities fighting the floodwaters. A total of 6,100 bags were delivered to Craig, Mo., Tuesday, according to information officer Mary Robertson. The city had obtained 160,000 sandbags from Napoleon, Mo., she said.

Residents along Waterworks Road were allowed to return home, but the road remained closed until this morning, Ms. Robertson said. Riverfront Park won't reopen until this morning, but the use of walking trails will be restricted until further notice.

Elwood, Kan., officials began allowing residents back to their homes early in the afternoon, said Mayor Lawrence Mays, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assessed that the flood threat had passed. "If they want to come back, they can," said Police Chief Larry Hunsaker as early as mid-morning. "There's no stipulation."

Corps officials lauded local efforts to maintain Elwood's levee.

"These guys have done a hell of a job keeping it in shape," said Larry Henderson, a project maintenance mechanic at Smithville Lake.

Mr. Henderson and Emily Nziramasanga, a civil engineer for the Corps' Kansas City district, formed a liaison team that checked levees on the Kansas side of the river. They left Elwood late in the morning to inspect levees from Rulo, Neb., and southward.

Ms. Nziramasanga said the levee checks involve looking for sand boils - areas under the surface that can release water from pressure and potentially destroy a levee's structural integrity.

"If we don't have a good grasp of where the weak points could be, we could be in trouble," she said. "I wouldn't be too scared if I lived here."

Mr. Mays said officials will continue to monitor the levee for the rest of the week. The Missouri Air National Guard has offered to supply volunteers to help residents clean their properties from floodwaters and to move back into homes, he added. Others have offered to help as well.

"The people in our county have been extremely helpful and resourceful," Mr. Mays said. "This community deeply appreciates that."

In other developments:

Agency, Mo., residents who chose to stay in their homes were found to be OK, said Buchanan County Emergency Management Director Bill Brinton. Although the town was surrounded by water on three sides, he said officials have maintained contact with residents to check on their safety. Several homes in the community were partially submerged, Mr. Brinton said.

A farm levee near Kansas City Power & Light's Iatan plant failed, but didn't threaten the facility's operations. Another levee, in the Rushville, Mo./Bean Lake, Mo., area also failed.

Volunteers were placing sandbags against a farm levee late in the afternoon at Lewis and Clark Village.

The 102 River at Riverside Road is rising and isn't predicted to crest until noon Thursday.

Gov. Matt Blunt met with emergency managers and surveyed flood damage in the St. Joseph area. Mr. Blunt praised community leaders, volunteers and agencies for efforts to place sandbags at various locations across the city. "I want to commend everybody for doing such a wonderful job together," he said. "Certainly, St. Joseph set a great example with the community spirit." He said state and federal officials would assess the damage to determine what kind of aid is available. The governor has declared a state of emergency.


I hope the home owners that were effected get their lives back in order soon. There was no flooding in my neighborhood.


20 St. Joe homes overrun with water
City already receives 14 claims for damages as of Tuesday

Joe Blumberg
City Government Reporter

At least 20 St. Joseph homes and basements flooded early Monday from heavy rains unrelated to high levels on the Missouri River.

The homes are scattered throughout St. Joseph, but the largest cluster was in northeast St. Joseph in a set of duplexes near Gene Field Road and Safari Drive.

Of several homes the News-Press visited, the damage was at times extensive but mostly confined to basements and garages.

Most of the basements, however, were finished. Many residents had heavy water damage to carpets, walls, furniture, beds, bathrooms, appliances and personal items.

The city of St. Joseph has yet to fully investigate the causes of the floods.

Based on homeowners' accounts and large amounts of debris in sewer inlets and roadways, it appeared that many of the city's sewers were overrun with water and debris during the heavy rain between about 11 p.m. Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday.

Several storm victims suggested the sewers were poorly or inadequately designed and/or hadn't been routinely checked for debris. "We'll have to review each one and figure out what happened," said Assistant Public Works Director Andy Clements. "... We had all our resources focused on (the Missouri River)."

Generally west of Belt Highway, St. Joseph's sewers are combined, meaning they carry both storm water and sanitary sewerage. In heavy rains, water can fill the sewers, and any trash, debris or tree limbs can cause clogs.

But a complex of four duplexes at Gene Field and Safari is in an area generally served by separate sewers, meaning that ideally the storm water shouldn't have infiltrated the sanitary sewers. Those duplexes are near or part of sites of past problems.

The duplexes had water and/or sewage come up through basement garage drains and/or toilets after midnight. The duplexes sit on the banks of a large creek that hadn't quite overtopped. Mr. Clements said separated sewers can still have legitimate problems with storm water, such as an improper connections.

Duplex residents Linda Tolin and Christine McCoy said a city crew responded at about 2:30 a.m., did something to a nearby sewer, and the water drained properly. The city couldn't confirm this account Tuesday.

Ms. Tolin had only moved into her duplex on Friday night. Most of her belongings were still in boxes in the basement, much of which are now likely ruined.

With all of the focus on the Missouri River, Ms. Tolin said she and her neighbors feel overlooked and underserved - her first hope was for a Dumpster so they could at least remove the sobering sight of her ruined belongings.

The city had received 14 claims for damages as of Tuesday evening. The city investigates and submits the claims to its insurer, MoPERM, which then makes its own review on a case-by-case basis. In past sewer claims, MoPERM has only voluntarily paid out when it determines the city was negligent - meaning it was aware of the problem in advance and failed to address it.

Mike and Kristi Fraser, 1525 Fourth Ave., live along a combined sewer. They said their basement toilet erupted at about 11 p.m. Sunday "like someone had knocked the top off a fire hydrant." Four of their five kids had slept in basement rooms.

Then water came rushing down a hill toward their house, they said. It came knocking at their front door, and judging by the paths left in the yard, it came around back and let itself in uninvited through their basement garage.

"We had a lot of water hit us real quick, and there was nothing we could do about it but hope and pray for the best and keep squeegeeing," Mr. Fraser said.

He said he complained to the city last year about debris in ditches and sewers near his house. He said they cleaned the ditches but didn't touch the sewer, which he also felt isn't big enough to handle runoff from surrounding hills.

"I'm hoping at least the city will take care of the sewage problem and get these drains squared away properly underground instead of over the streets and into homes," Mr. Fraser said.

The Frasers' neighbors on both sides also had water damage in their basements.

The city recommended they fill out a claim form and wait for a response. Meantime, the Frasers cleaned, threw away belongings and relocated their children.

For more information on sewer backups, the city has prepared information at www.ci.st-joseph.mo.us/publicworks/sewerbackupinformation.pdf.


Thank God this didn't turn out to be another 93. I was very impressed by the volunteers I saw (and read about) sandbagging the weak areas in our levee system. I'd like to think they were there because they do care about their neighbor/fellow man. I'm sure some were there because they thought their own property was in danger. I'd like to be able to thank each of them for their efforts no matter why they were there.

Thanks go to:
The St. Joseph News-Press

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.


Updated 5/10/07, 7:12 PM

As it turn's out there was one fatality due to the flood. Our Grand Daughters birth Father lost his life while helping flood victims. Since the family wasn't close we didn't hear about it until today.


5/10/2007 4:24:00 PM

One death in St. Joseph died to flood (4:25 pm)

St. Joseph News-Press

This week's floodwaters have claimed the life of a St. Joseph man who helped residents evacuate their Lake Contrary homes, officials said Thursday afternoon.

C. Paul Clark, a 39-year-old South Side man, suffered a possible heart attack while volunteering himself and his pickup truck to assist people who chose to remove belongings out of their homes Sunday night, said Buchanan County Emergency Management Director Bill Brinton.

"He was carrying things back and forth," said Mr. Brinton, who was working with Mr. Clark near the St. Joseph Boat Club at the time.

"In talking to Mr. Clark's family, I have been told that whether he liked you or not, he was always there to volunteer to help in any crisis," he said.

First responders from the St. Joseph Fire Department treated Mr. Clark, who was taken to Heartland Regional Medical Center. He died Monday at the hospital.

Mr. Clark's death is being classified as flood-related by the State Emergency Management Agency since he was involved in the relief effort, Mr. Brinton said.

He met with the family and determined that Mr. Clark had not been previously ill.

Funeral services were held Thursday afternoon at Rupp Funeral Home.


Rest In Peace Mr. Clark

Thanks go to:
The Saint Joseph News-Press

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

7 Comments:

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It wasn't a farm levee that gave way near the Iatan Power Plant, it was the power plant's levee, which is the same levee that gave in first in the 1993 flood. Their levee is never as high as the adjoining Bean Lake levee, maybe purposely to protect their plant.

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