ST. LOUIS (AP) — Volunteers were busy stacking sandbags in the tiny Missouri town of Dutchtown on Monday as the rain-swollen Mississippi River threatens to send water into about a third of the town’s homes and make another nearby town an island.
Heavy rain over the past several days has spurred a second round of spring flooding this year in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers have crested in many places north and west of St. Louis — but to the south, the worst was yet to come.
In Dutchtown, a community of about 100 people, volunteers joined homeowners in adding to makeshift levees left standing from April flooding along the Mississippi. Although floodwater never reached the levees then, it seems certainly it will this time.
“We’re trying to do what we can before it gets here,” said Doyle Parmer, Dutchtown’s emergency management coordinator. He said 13 homes are in danger, including three rental properties he owns because he moved to Cape Girardeau.
Dutchtown has for years sought a government buyout that town leaders say is caught up in red tape. Under buyout programs, the government purchases homes in the flood plain with the agreement that the land will be used only as green space, such as a park.
“I’ll take 60 cents on the dollar,” Parmer said. “C’mon, you live where it floods. You need to get out, lick your wounds, count your losses and go elsewhere.”
High water could make nearby Allenville, population 117, an island. Just one county road is expected to remain passable at Allenville, so if it floods, the town would be reachable only by boat, said Cape Girardeau County spokesman Eric McGowen. But he said locals were taking things in stride.
“The residents are pretty good at taking care of themselves,” he said.
The scenic Illinois tourist town of Grafton, near St. Louis, was largely isolated with the key highway closed. The Mississippi is expected to crest in the town of about 700 residents early Tuesday.
“Grafton isn’t closed — just parts of it are underwater,” Police Chief Chris Sullivan said. “There’s 12 feet of water standing in large parts of town.”
Yet Sullivan said locals weren’t panicking, given Grafton’s history. The latest predicted crest of 11 feet above flood stage would match that of the 2008 flood, when 20 homes and businesses were flooded, but floods have been worse, including in 1993 during the most severe flooding ever along much of the Mississippi.
“I think we’re a little bit weary,” Sullivan said. “But the people of Grafton are really resilient, and they’re used to dealing with this. They make a living off the river, and they understand they have to take the bad with the good.”
Nearby Alton, Ill., also had flood problems, with the Mississippi River spillover flooding the riverfront and roads near the Con Agra plant. The Argosy Alto Casino is closed due to high water and is expected to remain so until Thursday.
In northern Missouri, however, the river was going down. Clarksville, Mo., stayed mostly dry thanks to a sandbag-and-tarp levee built in April that was reinforced by volunteers in recent days. Several businesses and a few homes took on water in Louisiana, Mo., but the Champ Clark Bridge, which spans the river and connects to Illinois, reopened as water on the Illinois approach receded. Its closure forced commuters to drive an extra 35 miles to the next closest river crossing.
No significant problems were expected in St. Louis, but the normally busy road that runs between the river and the Gateway Arch was closed Monday.
Corps of Engineers spokesman Mike Petersen said two Mississippi River levees have been overtopped during this round of flooding, both near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Petersen said about 20 residents were impacted.
The Missouri River was starting to drop in hard-hit Missouri towns including Jefferson City, Hermann and Washington.
Nathan Nickolaus, city administrator in Jefferson City, said a few homes and businesses were damaged but levees held, even as water lapped near the tops. One of those levees protected the Jefferson City airport, which remained open, though several plane owners moved their aircraft out.
Nickolaus credited buyouts of homeowners over the past several years that have essentially cleared out the flood plain in Missouri’s Capitol city.
“Years ago this would have been a major event with a lot of homes and businesses impacted, people stranded,” Nickolaus said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Steubenville Superintendent Mike McVey and three other people indicted by the grand jury investigating the Steubenville rape case all entered not guilty pleas on Friday.
Closing arguments have wrapped up and a Trumbull County jury is deliberating a case surrounding a deadly home invasion.
Winter weather advisory in effect after midnight into Saturday, expiring late Saturday night and into Sunday.
Police are investigating two accidents that happened within minutes of each other late Thursday night on Interstate 680.
A Mercer County business sustained damage after a fire broke out inside a garage late Thursday night.
An Ohio Lottery Commission employee was indicted Thursday on a felony count of theft in office.
Michael Hingson remembers Sept. 11, 2001, because he lived through it. He was on the 78th floor of the North Tower when the first plane hit.
The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley doesn't want to leave anyone out in the cold during these frigid temperatures.
Families in Liberty Township who may be struggling are getting some help this holiday season.
On Thursday, some YSU business students showcased some of the work they have been doing as part of an e-commerce and social media course.
A truck driver lost his brakes and crashed into a fence, turning it on its side.
The Mahoning County Commissioners passed their 2014 budget on Thursday.
Some officers in Trumbull County were brushing up on their skills Thursday in the event that they are ever put in a situation with an armed suspect.
A Youngstown toddler who battled testicular cancer and is now cancer-free was going to have a night he would never forget on Thursday.
The Wean Foundation on Thursday announced $950,000 in grants that will be split among three organizations.
Bristol Local schools are planning to close for one day to allow students and faculty to attend the funeral services of a former teacher.