By Mike Scott
“We’re still holding on,” said Alexandria Mayor Bob Davis.
The Mississippi River crested just below 27 feet on Wednesday, falling short of the 1993 crest. As of Monday morning, the river level had dropped to under 25 feet, and will continue to fall throughout the week.
“Everything is going the way we want it to,” Davis said. “We still have a couple days to let the water go down. The levees are getting soft, but if the water goes down, we’ll be okay.”
Alexandria was one of the lucky communities this year–the nearly five miles of levy protecting the area held back the waters.
Last Monday, Mayor Davis called for an evacuation as the river threatened to top the 1993 record. At the junction of Highways 61 and 136, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and National Guard soldiers are manning a checkpoint, and not allowing residents or sightseers back into the town.”
“Nobody has argued. People were very helpful,” said Davis. “I asked them not to come back yet because I don’t want to worry about them and the levee. It has made our jobs a lot easier,” Davis said.
Randy Colwell was in charge of patrolling the town’s levees, and his crew drove 4-wheelers 24 hours a day, monitoring seepage and watching for levee boils. Duck Gates and four others tended the pumps, which have fought the seep water.
Davis said his town’s levee patrols made the difference. Despite a request from Homeland Security officials to pull all the people, Davis stood his ground.
“If we had pulled the sandbaggers and levee patrol, we may as well have cut a trench in the levee,” Davis said.
Many of Alexandria’s streets remain flooded, but not with the muddy Mississippi water. The waters flooding streets and yards has seeped through the levees or the ground, and been filtered by the sand, so that it is clear.
Several additional pumps have been brought in to fight the seep water, and Davis hopes to be able to allow residents to return in the next few days.
Davis has asked Alexandria residents to call him at 319-795-0880, to see when they can return home.
“There are a lot of rumors going around, so just call me,” Davis asked.
Further south in the county, water is receding in the Gregory Landing Drainage District. Several thousand acres of farmland flooded last week as the river spilled over that levee.
Near St. Francisville, Des Moines River floodwaters cut a ditch across a county road.