Flooding looms for Clarksville again

CLARKSVILLE, Missouri (KSDK) - The rising waters of the Mississippi are threatening the tiny city of Clarksville again.

Just a week after the city finished paying for last year's flooding, volunteers and a business came to the rescue to help keep it from going under.

"If it wasn't for all the volunteers, we couldn't do this. Plain and simple," long-time Clarksville resident Dennis Parsons said.

The volunteers working to keep the Mississippi at bay are from near and far. Mary Fortney and her husband are from Fort Worth, Texas.

"We were heading to Hannibal from St. Louis, and we just ran through a little town to pick up some gas and we ran into a girl who said the floodwaters were coming, they need volunteers to fill up sandbags and we said hey we can do that," Fortney said.

The city also got help from inmates from the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia.

The river is expected to crest by Wednesday, nine feet above flood stage for Clarksville. Mayor Jo Anne Smiley says because of money issues stemming from last year's flooding, they were just going to let nature take its course. But someone stepped in.

"Manna from Heaven came in that the railroad, BNSF called us and volunteered to bring and did bring 100 tons of sand, 20,000 sand bags, and the trucks that you saw just now are more sand bags filled this time," Mayor Smiley said.

Homeowners are on their own. Thomas Bankhead's family is building a wall out of special baskets and sand.

"In '08 the house went under water above the windows. And it took five years to get it back," he tells us. "I don't think I want to do that again."

Mayor Smiley said this is just a part of life living on the river, and they're not going anywhere.

"We live on the river. We have to deal with what the river decides to do. We have a town that we're very proud of. It's going to celebrate its 200th birthday in '17 and we want to make sure it's here alive and well, and ready to welcome people."

This effort will continue until the threat is over. But they need more volunteers. If you want to help, you don't have to sign up or anything. Just make the drive, and they'll find a way to put you to work.


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