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"We couldn't have done it locally" - Clarksville alderman

11:05 PM, Apr 21, 2013   |    comments
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The Mississippi River is running out of its banks, flooding homes and farmland, but it looks like that round the clock sandbagging operation in Clarksville, Missouri is working.

The river crested in Clarksville around 34.7 feet on Sunday which is earlier than expected and about a foot lower than anticipated.

Volunteers have been working tirelessly since Thursday to save the town.

It started with a little panic.

"It's a little scary, we've got hours not days," says Mayor Jo Anne Smiley of Clarksville.

It looks like the community of Clarksville has dodged a bullet.

"No, we couldn't have done it locally, it's kind of an aging population here in Clarksville," says town Alderman Randy Snell.

Just four days ago, volunteers started building a levee. It was a quick fix to an increasing problem, but it seems to have worked.
Snell says the worst, he hopes, is over and the community owes it to the stranger who stopped by their small town.

"It's hard to get an army of people unless you go to some organizations and we've had the luck to have it," says Snell.

"I was on a road trip through here, yesterday with my family and saw how terrible it was and decided to come up and volunteer," says Micjaah Barfield who came from St. Charles to volunteer.

Still on Sunday dozens headed into Clarksville to help out, including Barfield.

"I believe in what they are doing so I wanted to come and try and save it," says Barfield.

These sandbags they are filling are extras and will be put to use throughout the week if need be, but now the worry starts downstream.

"We've been here for four and a half years and this is all we got, we don't know what we will do if it comes down to it," says Richard Mason of Winfield who is anxious about the Mississippi river just a few miles from his home.

The levee seems to be holding for now, but just in case he's moving some items out of his house.

"We don't know what to think or what to expect so we are just trying to prepare for it the best we can," says Mason.

In Clarksville they know what to expect and what to watch for.
"In Clarksville everyone becomes a local meteorologist, when you are this close to the river," says Snell. "Everybody has an eye on it all the time and knows what's going on and they are watching the forecasts and that type of thing."

He is just hoping for the best this time around and hoping Sunday's level really is the crest.

"It could be, it's possible, we will just have to wait and see what comes down river," says Snell.

The call for volunteers in Clarksville has ended for the time being, but AmeriCorps will be here for several days, watching the pumps and making sure the water keeps going down.

 

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