Clarksville braces for more rain

CLARKSVILLE, Mo. - One Missouri town is getting ready for the Mississippi river to take over the streets.

The small historic town of Clarksville is trying to prepare for the river to be ten feet over floodstage. Just getting to Clarksville right now is difficult. Highway 79 is closed north and south of town and two bridges up stream are closed.

Clarksville has known this flooding was coming for more than a week and have had the time they needed to prepare for it.

The streets are unusually quiet for a major flood event. Not many volunteers roaming around or trucks delivering supplies. This time around the efforts were left up to the residents to protect their homes and businesses.

"It's getting old and tiresome it's really hard on the house," said Richard Cottrell who has to leave his house after the creeping river has already flooded his basement and forced the electricity off.

"I thought the river height wasn't going to be too bad and that we could do it, but I didn't about so much going into the basement," he said.

Normally Cottrell's home would be surrounded by sandbags put in place by the town, but last week the town board decided they can't afford to help pay for flooding preparations. That left it up to the people of Clarksville.

"I think in our heart of hearts we always knew that the town would do what they've always done and that is that it would find a way," said Mayor Jo Anne Smiley.

She says donations and volunteers have come through. Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has donated tons of sand and prisoners and Americorps volunteers have been in town.

The Clarksville Christian Church quickly built a concrete wall that will remain there after the water goes down.

"They think it's the new normal which I think it is too so I think this is a regular occurrence," said CBC bank president Steve Jones. He says the wall may not be a bad idea, but for now his wall of sandbags and pumps will do the trick.

The mayor says it's not an ideal situation, but the residents have pulled through.

"We want to be alive and well, happy and welcoming," said Smiley.

The river is expected to crest at the earliest Tuesday night going into Wednesday.

Smiley says the flood wall built by volunteers and residents isn't as thick as it was last year, but if the level reaches the predicted 35 feet she believes it will hold.


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