“Only Mother Nature Can Help Us Now
By Mike Scott
Alexandria residents can only watch and wait now. Monday’s picture-perfect weather stood in sharp contrast to the seriousness of the situation.
After preparing for record flooding for nearly a week, Mayor Bob Davis asked residents to evacuate the community by Monday afternoon.
“To be safe, we’ve told everybody to get out. By this afternoon, the only people still here will be sandbaggers and our people patrolling the levee,” Davis said.
The National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction forecasts the river to break the old record of 27.6 feet on late Tuesday, and rise to 28.2 over the following days. The previous record was set July 10, 1993.
At 10AM Monday morning, the water was and 26.4 feet, and reportedly coming over the top of the levee at Gregory Landing, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, but affecting relatively few homes.
Davis held a town meeting Sunday morning, and asked people to evacuate the town by Monday night. He asked residents to check out with him, and the gas and electricity would be disconnected at their homes.
Alexandria residents have had time to prepare for the disaster, and all week people have been moving their belongings out of the area. At least four feet of sand was added to the tops of the levees surrounding the community.
On Thursday, officials were still guardedly optimistic.
"We're waiting on time, water and nature," Homeland Security Dave Garrsion said at an emergency planning meeting Thursday evening. Representatives of the City of Alexandria, Clark County Health Department, Mississippi Des Moines Levy District, the American Red Cross and other organizations met at Alexandria's Community Center. Also in attendance was 18th District Senator Wes Shoemyer.
Last week, Shoemyer and State Representative Brian Munzlinger asked for a disaster declaration to allow SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) to begin preparing. On Monday, U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof called on President Bush to provide expedited federal disaster assistance to Missouri to assist those impacted by the flooding that will hit Northeast Missouri. Hulshof will be in Northeast Missouri on Tuesday to review and aid Missourians affected by the flooding.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been harmed by this natural disaster,” Hulshof said. “We must do everything we can to help our communities in Northeast Missouri in their time of need.”
Davis praised the work of community members and volunteers for their efforts in the fight against the river. He thanked the Clark County Commissioners for providing additional equipment, and Mississippi-Des Moines Levy District for their help.
"We have a lot of volunteers working out here," Davis said. "And the community is really supporting them."
Davis also thanked the organizations and volunteers who provided food for the community, including the Purple Cow, Mennonite women, Community Center, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the people of Alexandria.
"I'll be here until it's over," Davis said. “We’ve done everything we can. Only Mother Nature can help us now”.
Check www.nemonews.net for updates