Residents asked to leave two small Mo. towns

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Officials have asked residents of two small western Missouri farm communities to evacuate because flood waters from neighboring Kansas cut off access to roads.

Authorities in Bates County started a voluntary evacuation late Monday of Rockville and Papinville in the southeast corner of the county.

Flood runoff from Kansas also closed a stretch of U.S. 71 in Bates County about 75 miles south of Kansas City, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.

Bates County Emergency Management Director Tim Young said most residents of the two towns are believed to have left. Rockville has less than 100 residents and Papinville has about 40 people.

The county has set up an emergency shelter in the high school gym in Butler.

Young said much of the rural southern part of the county is cut off by the swollen Marais des Cygnes river, which runs from eastern Kansas to Truman Lake.

"There is potential for agricultural loss and livestock loss," Young said.

Bates County and nearby Vernon County have been hit by runoff from Kansas flooding that has swollen several rivers more than 10 feet over flood stage.

About a dozen smaller roads were also closed by high water in the two mainly rural counties.

On the Net:

National Weather Service in Springfield flood predictions and river data:

Missouri Department of Transportation flood conditions:

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