Mo. homes destroyed by flooding as rivers burst banks

Monday, July 2, 2007 | 2:01 p.m. CDT; updated 2:50 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

SPRINGFIELD — At least six homes were destroyed and three more evacuated due to flooding in western Missouri south of Kansas City, as rivers that drain from water-logged Kansas burst their banks, authorities said Monday.

Floodwaters reduced U.S. 71 to two lanes from four about 75 miles south of Kansas City near Rich Hill in Bates County, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

Flooding also led to the closure of U.S. 54 in Vernon County along a stretch between the Kansas line and Nevada, Mo.

Both counties were affected by floodwaters draining out of Kansas along the Marmaton, Osage and Marais des Cygnes rivers that flow east toward Truman Lake.

Bates County Emergency Management Director Tim Young said six homes were destroyed by the rising Marais des Cygnes River on Sunday near the community of Virginia, one of them by an explosion triggered by the flooding. The exact cause is still under investigation. One man suffered mild burns in the blast but did not have to go to the hospital, Young said.

Young said three families were evacuated from rural homes near Amoret and Rich Hill before the water could cut off their exit routes.

There are no evacuation orders in the county and none of the communities in the rural county are threatened by flooding, Young said.

The Marmaton and the Osage rivers in Vernon County were each 10 feet or more over flood stage Monday and were not expected to begin falling until Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Springfield.

Vernon County Emergency Management Director Dennis Kimrey said there have not been any evacuations in his rural county and most of the flooding there was on farmland.

“We’ve been pretty lucky,” Kimrey said.

He said authorities had to perform two water rescues Sunday but no injuries were reported. In one case a boat capsized and in the other a car became stuck in rising water.

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