NW Missouri town evacuates again due to flooding
Friday, July 8, 2011
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Residents who only just returned to their homes after the Missouri River breached a levee and flooded their northwest Missouri town, forcing them to leave, are again having to evacuate their homes as rain and the waterway threaten to flood the area again.
Weeks of high pressure from the bloated waterway has further damaged the levee, putting the Atchison County town of Watson under severe risk of more flooding, said Mark Manchester, deputy director of emergency management for Atchison County.
Up to three inches of rain fell in the area overnight, adding to the town’s woes, Manchester said.
“The levee breach that caused the original evacuation has widened ... so it’s just filling the town back up,” he said.
Watson’s 120 residents evacuated their homes two weeks ago when the initial breach flooded their town, which lies about 2 miles from the Missouri River. But the floodwaters receded and a few of them had recently ventured home, Manchester said.
“So anyone who moved back in, are re-evacuating,” he said.
The breach is about 600 feet long, said Jennifer Arch Dekin, spokeswoman for the Missouri National Guard.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began releasing massive amounts of water at dams along the Missouri River a few weeks ago to relieve upstream reservoirs that were under pressure due to substantial spring snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains and heavy rainfall in the upper Plains. Those releases have caused flooding in many communities along the river.
The corps expects the river to remain high at least into August.
Further downstream in west-central Missouri, Dekin said the guard has been using two Blackhawk helicopters to drop 1,500 to 2,000-pound sandbags to reinforce a levee in Carroll County. The guard said that work began Wednesday and would continue Thursday.
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