Missouri and Kansas communities brace for potential river flooding

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WESTON, Mo. — All the devastation from severe flooding continues to unfold in Nebraska, and now preparations are underway for possible flooding downstream as the Missouri River rises.

“Neighbors have got to stick together, and that’s the only way we can survive and get through this stuff,” Weston Mayor Clifford Harvey said.

The Missouri River sits a mile and a half from the bottom of downtown Weston. But with upstream flooding, water is already creeping toward city hall and neighboring businesses.

“I’ve got family that live up in Nebraska and it’s pretty serious,” Harvey said. “They’re going through it right now and I suspect within a few hours or a day, we’ll be going through it down here.”

That’s why city hall offices are now on higher ground at the police station.

Across the street, Sur-Gro Plant Food is doing some heavy lifting, already putting in 250 man hours to move more than $1 million of inventory out of the flood zone.

“We were loading two trucks at a time and at the time, had somewhere over 15-hundred ton,” Orville Fulk said, plant manager of Sur-Gro Plant Food in Weston.

This is set to be the third river flood Sur-Gro’s dealt with, the most recent in 2011. Fulk said while the upstream flooding is worrisome, it’s giving Missouri and Kansas communities plenty of time to prepare.

“We know what the work is. We know what they got coming and it’s just hard to find the help and the people once you get into that mud handling job to get help,” Fulk said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers in Kansas City has partially activated its emergency response operations center. It’s keeping close watch on river levels and has been distributing resources like barriers and sandbags to keep communities safe.

“Public safety is the Corps’ number one concern. We do have concerns there will be a few more levy over-toppings as that crest moves downstream. So we’re watching that very closely,” Mike Dulin said, emergency management specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sandbagging operations are in full force around the Iatan power plant just outside Weston. Everyone along the river is hoping for the best, but doing everything needed to prepare for possible flooding.

“We’re going to be active until the threat is over,” Dulin said.

Most communities in the Kansas City region are expecting river levels to crest Tuesday and into Wednesday.

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expecting no major damage in our area, it encourages anyone in a flood prone area to closely follow your local emergency management agencies and heed any evacuation orders that might be posted.

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