By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
All eyes are on the Missouri right now, especially in Kansas.
Elwood, Kansas, just across the Missouri River from St. Joseph, has evacuated as the Missouri rises to nearly record levels. The National Weather Service reports the Missouri at 32.01 at 2:30pm Friday, just shy of the record crest of 32.1 feet reached in 1993. NWS expects the level of the Missouri River at St. Joseph to begin to lower this evening, projecting it to keep dropping and leave the major flood stage by Sunday morning.
Officials called for the evacuation of Elwood when the river reached 30 feet.
Doniphan County, Kansas Emergency Management spokesman Rick Howell says Elwood residents cooperated when asked to leave their town.
“You’re talking about a town that for generations has lived with the Missouri River, so they’ve seen this type of thing through the years,” Howell says. “So, when local officials start to talk about evacuation for precautionary steps and protection of life and property, these local residents take that seriously.”
Members of the nearby 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Airport are helping sandbag operations to fortify the levee which protects Elwood.
The 139th Vice Commander, Col. John Cluck, says high priority equipment has been moved from nearby Rosecrans Memorial Airport. Its command center is now located across the river in St. Joseph. The C-130 planes have been flown to Topeka, Kansas.
Cluck says the 139th feels confident the levee will hold.
“She’s a strong old girl and she’s holding tight,” Cluck says. “So, we’re helping her. We are continuing to stack sandbags on top of it to give us some more depth. We have water on sandbags, but that’s okay, that’s why we put them there.”
Sandbagging will continue until the river recedes enough to be deemed no longer a threat to Elwood.