Residents of Excelsior Springs say flooding is the worst they’ve seen in 20 years

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- Flash flooding hit parts of Clay County hard Wednesday morning as rivers and streams overflowed, and businesses were threatened by the rising water.

Flood water overwhelmed parked cars, a baseball diamond in a local park and made short work of a construction site near a downtown bridge. In just two hours, the banks of Fishing River expanded and eventually vanished and caused problems for residents of Excelsior Springs.

Police officers also struggled to protect their headquarters. As water began to rise near the building some officers filled sand bags to build a makeshift dam and prevent water from filling the parking lot and entering the building.

Even guests at Elms Hotel and Spa, which has been a landmark in Excelsior Springs for more than 100 years, were forced to move their cars from the hotel's parking lot or risk their vehicle being flooded. The side parking lot at the Elms flooded quickly. Hotel managers told FOX 4 News they didn’t need to evacuate guests from their rooms, since the first two floors of the hotel are not designated for guests lodging.

Local residents labored to save their homes and protect their families. Kayla Arnone told FOX 4 that she can't even get to her home because it's on the other side of a washed-out bridge in downtown Excelsior Springs. The water that separated Arnone from her home was so deep that construction signs were floating and two parked cars were submerged.

“It scares me,” Arnone said. “That's why I went and got my kids out of school early. They're little and they're walkers. They walk home. If I had let them walk home, they could have gotten washed away.”

Capt. Will Akin with the Clay County Sheriff's Department says his crews have kept busy, closing roads in five locations until flood waters could recede.

Some residents told FOX 4 that Wednesday's flood was the worst flooding they'd seen in more than 20 years.