Burst levees cause replay of bad flooding

first_imgBig Lake is about 95 miles northwest of Kansas City and has a permanent population of 150 and another 150 summer residents. Nearby, the communities of Craig and Fortescue also were threatened, Sitherwood said. In Agency, a town of about 100 surrounded on three sides by the Platte River, most had already evacuated. The town was hit hard in 1993 in one of the most costly and devastating floods in U.S. history. That flood claimed 48 lives in the Midwest and caused $18 billion in damage. By midday Tuesday, a few homes were partially submerged, as were nearby roads and a cemetery. “It isn’t as bad as 1993,” said Pauline Gibson, 71. “But it’s working on it. We don’t want it like ’93, but they say more rain is coming and that’s not good.” Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt declared a state of emergency and mobilized National Guard troops to help. At least 19 Kansas counties declared local disaster emergencies. AGENCY, Mo. – Five burst levees along the Missouri River sent a deluge of water that submerged the tiny town of Big Lake on Tuesday, as thousands in the region fled their homes amid warnings that the flooding could approach the devastation of 1993. The levees broke Monday south of Big Lake, along with four smaller levees along the Tarkio River and the Tarkio Creek, and the rush of river water immersed the town on Tuesday, said Mark Sitherwood, presiding commissioner of Holt County. Many of the buildings in town had several feet of water inside, said Holt County Clerk Kathy Kunkel. “The town is a loss. At this time, we don’t know, but it looks like that’s what’s going to happen,” Sitherwood said. No injuries were reported. Most Big Lake residents evacuated Monday but a handful had to be rescued by boat Tuesday, Sitherwood said. “Once we’ve dealt with the entire flood across the state, we’ll begin to evaluate the damage and find out what kind of assistance might be available,” Blunt said Tuesday. River towns across much of Missouri were evacuating low-lying areas Tuesday or seeking help filling and stacking sandbags. “We’re scrambling around here,” said Steve Mellis, who was volunteering near the central Missouri town of Easley as residents moved boats and equipment to higher ground. Two-thirds of the town of Mosby, 20 miles northeast of Kansas City, was already under 2 to 4 feet of water from the overflowing Fishing River, said D.C. Rogers, Clay County director of emergency services. He said the town’s 242 residents began evacuating Monday morning. By evening, only one route into the community remained open. Evacuations were voluntary in several western Missouri counties, but a mandatory evacuation was imposed in Parkville, just across the Missouri River from Kansas City, said Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for the governor. Parts of Missouri, Iowa and Kansas received 4 to 8 inches of rain in a 24-hour period, the National Weather Service said. Since the 1993 floods in the Mississippi and Missouri river basins, only two or three other flooding episodes have been comparable to what forecasters are predicting in the next several days, weather service meteorologist Andy Bailey said. The 1993 flood was caused by melting snow combined with heavy rain over two months. After that, state buyouts of property on flood plains left fewer residences in danger of future floods. “But make no mistake,” Bailey added, “this is a major flood.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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