By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Residents in extreme northwest Missouri are being urged to leave their homes in anticipation of flooding along the Missouri River.
“At 5 o’clock yesterday (Wed) afternoon, Atchison County declared a state of emergency and, as such, we have also recommended that anybody west of Interstate 29 evacuate due to the potential of floodwaters coming in here in the near future,” Atchison County Emergency Management Deputy Director Mark Manchester tells St. Joseph Post.
Manchester says the emergency declaration was issued after the National Weather Service forecast a record crest on the Missouri River in northwest Missouri, higher even than the record crest during the 2011 flood.
Manchester points out the Missouri River in northwest Missouri reached a record crest of 44.8 feet in 2011.
“And, currently, the Weather Service, as of the last update, was predicting 46.3 feet, which would be another foot and a half above that level,” Manchester says. “So, the concern is obviously there that we could see some possibility catastrophic damage.”
The Tarkio River rose to just under 25 feet on Wednesday, forcing the closure of Highway 59 between Tarkio and Fairfax. Manchester says other tributaries of the Missouri River are running bank-full.
Heavy rain in the area has combined with snowpack runoff up north to raise the Missouri River significantly the past few days.
Manchester says many area residents have already been packing, because they have been through this before.
“They knew as they were hearing things that things had the potential to get bad,” according to Manchester. “So, out of an abundance of caution on their part, a lot of them had started to make preparations on their own, but we just felt it would be best to make an official declaration.”