Levee stabilized near Scott County's Caney Basin; 42 Coast Guard officers helping

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The flooding situation that had about 80 volunteers working Wednesday to protect Scott County's Caney Basin from floodwaters appears to have calmed down today, Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said just after noon.

"Things are improving with the sunshine today," Walter said.

Most of the damage in the Caney Basin was to farm fields, Walter said. But things could have been much worse without the help of volunteers from around the area helping to sandbag levees.

"You talk about some heroes there, those folks are," Walter said.

Scott County is asking anyone who sustained flood damage to their property to call a line at the sheriff's office, 573-545-3715, to report flood damage. Those reports will be used in damage assessments as local governments apply for federal disaster funds.

42 Cost Guard officers deployed to Southeast Missouri

No levee breaches happened in Southeast Missouri overnight, said Lt. Nick Humphrey with the Missouri Water Patrol.

The last breach was Wednesday afternoon south of Poplar Bluff, Mo., where several cars were washed downstream and crews had to rescue an elderly couple and transport them to the hospital.

Humphrey did not know how many rescues were made by the Water Patrol or Coast Guard overnight, but said they were ongoing. "We had information coming in every 15 minutes of another situation," he said.

The Coast Guard has been conducting water rescues, along with other federal and state agencies.

About 42 U.S. Coast Guard officers were deployed to Southeast Missouri in response to the flooding, Lt. Dan Satterfield, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, said today.

As of 7 a.m., Coast Guard helicopters circling Cape Girardeau, Scott and surrounding counties managed to rescue nine people from flooding areas near Allenville and Dutchtown, said Satterfield.

Disaster Assistance Response Teams deployed to the area also performed seven rescues, he said.

Members of the Coast Guard from Paducah, Ky., also arrived in Missouri Thursday to assist with the flood relief efforts.

The Coast Guard's main role has been to assist the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

"They've let us know what they need," said Satterfield.

Humphrey said Southeast Missouri is beginning to stabilize, and crews are "getting a handle on all the requests for evacuations."

Teams are beginning to move assets to areas west of St. Louis, where they are preparing for a possible levee breach around Valley Park, Eureka, and Fenton, Mo.

The main concern today remains flooding on the Mississippi River and the backups that flooding could cause on river tributaries, said Eric McGowen, public information officer with the Cape Girardeau County Emergency Operations Center.

The majority of people in the Delta-Allenville-Dutchtown area, where evacuations went on through the night, wishing to leave have been taken out, said McGowen. In all over 80 people were taken away from flood waters in the area.

Today McGowen said emergency crews are on standby in case the river flooding threatens more homes.

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