Flooding continues in northeast Missouri

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | 5:59 p.m. CDT; updated 11:14 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ST. LOUIS — Recent, heavy rains mean flooding woes aren't over yet in parts of northeast Missouri, with scattered reports of newly water-logged homes, damaged bridges and impassable roads.

On Tuesday, Mary Treat and her family were waiting for the Salt River to go down, so they could salvage belongings from their flooded home, just outside of the community of Paris in Monroe County.

The Treats got their goats and dogs to safety Friday, but were unable to save about two dozen rabbits - raised as their daughters' 4-H project - before the river's current became too swift. They also feared quilts sewn by Treat's mother and family photographs were destroyed by the waters.

"The river was up, but we didn't know it was going to come into the yard and flood us so fast," said Treat, 50.

Miles downstream, at the Mark Twain Lake in Monroe and Ralls counties, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continued to release water into the Salt River to drop the lake's elevation, already at an all-time high and near capacity.

The Clarence Cannon dam there was "performing as designed," Corps spokesman George Stringham said. But several dozen residents along the river in Ralls County remained out of their homes during the water releases, after being asked to evacuate due to flooding concerns. The area is about 120 miles northwest of St. Louis.

Monroe County Presiding Commissioner Donald Simpson estimated about 20 families had been affected by flooding since the start of heavy rains Thursday. A group of residents who had been living in senior housing in Paris had to be relocated, after their homes flooded early Saturday.

Dozens of roads had been shut down and dozens of bridges damaged. "We have three bridges we can't even see to know if they're still there," he said.

In Kirksville in Adair County, Police Chief Jim Hughes said by Tuesday the community was mainly experiencing wet basements and other nuisance flooding from recent rains. He estimated Thursday into Friday that as much as 10 inches of rain fell, resulting in multiple water rescues of drivers on roads. Even more rain had fallen since then.

A dam that forms a lake at a Kirksville country club had to be checked out, but was found to be sound. "We even had 4 inches of rain in the basement of the police department," he said.


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