Memories of the record high water of two years ago washed over volunteers Sunday as they sweated on sandbag lines near the point where the flooding Missouri and Mississippi rivers collide.
“We were here in ‘93 and we’re here again in ‘95 to fight the rivers. Same battle, different year, but we’ll do what it takes,” sandbagger Bob Thomas said under bright sunshine, with temperatures in the 80s.
Across the Mississippi from St. Louis in Alton, Ill., John Holman kept one eye on the makeshift levee behind the building housing his comedy club and the other on the pumps in the basement.
“I saw what the flood did in 1993, but we never anticipated it happening again so soon,” Holman said.
Last week’s storms swelled creeks and rivers throughout the Midwest. Two deaths have been blamed on the flooding in Missouri, where officials say they will seek federal help, but have not yet offered a damage estimate.
The National Weather Service projected a crest on the Missouri River by Monday of 37 feet - almost 4 feet below 1993’s high-water mark at St. Charles, but still a dozen feet above flood stage.
On the other side of the state, a levee broke on the Grand River early Sunday at Carrollton, about 60 miles east of Kansas City, flooding heavilytraveled U.S. 24.
The Missouri was already falling in Kansas City, said spokesman Larry Crump of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In central Missouri, the river crested Saturday in Boonville at 33.5 feet, 12 1/2 feet over flood stage.
The floodwaters covered thousands of acres of farmland around Boonville.