‘I had to leave’: Stress rising for Craig residents as makeshift levee around town breaks

CRAIG, Mo. -- Craig residents are bracing for the worst as flood waters breached a makeshift levee around the small Missouri town Wednesday.

Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation Wednesday for those who were still in town, though the evacuation order isn't being enforced. But most residents said they wanted to leave anyway.

"I had to leave," Janice Gadden said.

But Gadden wasn't eager to leave her house in Craig.

"No we wasn't," Gadden said, "until we knew that water was coming."

But that all changed when the levy broke Wednesday morning.

By midday, she was having lunch at the flood shelter at First Christian Church in Mound City, about 15 minutes away. She might even stay there Wednesday night.

Memories from past floods, like the historic flood that hit the area in 1993, are seeping back for Gadden.

"I lost everything," she said. "I lost everything in '93. And I'm gonna lose everything now, except for my family. My family I have."

Family, friends and neighbors. Gadden's neighbors are some of the dozen Craig residents staying at the shelter, too, weathering the uncertainty together.

"Nerve wracking, stress," said Jennifer Longcor, a Craig resident. "You name it. It's going through my head. Just all craziness."

Loncor is staying at the flood shelter with her 15-month-old daughter, Katie, her grandma and a handful of cousins. Some of her family and other neighbors stayed behind.

"They're sending me pictures left and right of, 'This is how far it is right now'," Longcor said. "It's crazy right now."

Those pictures are hard to take in when all Longcor can do is sit and wait.

"They said by the end of the night it will be in our homes, and I don't want it," Longcor said of the flood water. "We've all invested so much in our homes."

This is the first time Longcor has experienced a mandatory evacuation. Her grandmother has seen it all before, but that doesn't make it easier to process.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.