Two Ray County towns crank out sandbags, keeping a close eye on Missouri River

HENRIETTA, Mo. -- The Missouri River is now falling in some hard-hit areas, but forecasted rain here and to our north is still keeping river towns on high alert.

The National Guard is stationed in Hardin, where water is creeping close to town. Crews there are also working to help neighboring Henrietta.

Henrietta City Hall now has thousands of sandbags on pallets. The town itself hasn't flooded since 1993. It's now hoping the sandbag stockpile will help keep water away, and bags can be deployed to other areas if any more levees nearby are breached.

A sandbag assembly line is cranking at full steam in downtown Hardin.

"That's a lot of people putting a lot of effort in to try to help your fellow man," Eric Ellis said.

Ellis and a friend both work at Taber's Products, Inc. in Henrietta. Their boss is actually paying them to be off the job and spend time volunteering with flood preparations.

"We were involved in the tornado that went through Excelsior Springs. Lot of friends with downed porches and some lost tractor barns. Some lost roofs. I got an opportunity to give back a little bit to help out those who can't," Ellis said.

They're unloading thousands of sandbags at Henrietta City Hall.

"They're making another staging area in preparation to maybe get ahead of something like the Levasy break or something like that where there's sandbags ready. They're easily grabbed. Quick react time," he said.

A breach in Henrietta would be historic and catastrophic.

"If something breaks at this point in time, really bad things are going to start to happening," Ellis said.

"It's a devastating time right now," Glenda Clancy said.

Clancy's been watching the sandbagging efforts from her family's front porch. She has friends who have been forced from their home in southeastern Camden and others watching high water in Lexington.

"It's hard. I'm one that can't swim, so I said I'm going to leave me a life jacket beside my bed!" Clancy said.

Kidding aside, she and many along the Missouri River are grateful for the team effort to fight the flooding and to those offering support to families who've already lost so much.

"There's just so many people that need help. Almost like there's no stop to it," Ellis said.

"I just pray for everybody out there that's going through this," Clancy said.

The National Guard and prison volunteers have already filled  more than 10,000 sandbags from Hardin. Volunteers are expected to fill even more at Henrietta City Hall on Wednesday morning.

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