Missouri River tributaries swelling, creating historical flooding conditions

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The Missouri River continues to rise putting communities in Missouri and Kansas on alert. But it’s not just the Missouri that’s posing a serious threat; smaller tributaries are now swelling to record levels.

Several roads in Platte, Buchanan and Nodaway counties are closed as flood waters over-top them. Emergency management experts said some of the flooding is happening in areas that have never swelled before, as the Platte River and other rivers tied to it now spill out of their banks.

“It’s been kind of crazy,” Ralph Strasser said.

Strasser and his family have farmed ground just north of St. Joseph and in Amazonia nearly 50 years. He’s seen a few floods in his day, most notably in 1993.

“It was completely covered down on that end,” Strasser said.

But this spring is the first time off shoots of the Missouri River, including the 103 and Platte, are spilling beyond their banks onto his land.

Neighbors down the road were even forced from their homes Thursday.

“We feel fortunate our house hasn’t even come close to water yet,” Strasser said.

But his crops are another story.  His were submerged in March, and dried out just long enough to get crops in the ground.  Beans just went in a week ago and are now washed away.

“The ground that’s completely lost will be a financial disaster,” said Strasser.

With so much flooding around the Midwest, experts estimate only half the number of fields are planted that should be by this time and that’s likely to have an impact beyond the farm.

“It trickles down like everything else. It, you know, farmers are not going to spend near as much money as they normally would–fertilizer dealers, seed dealers, chemical dealers, everybody’s going to be affected,” Strasser said.

It’s a stark contrast to the droughts that ravaged farm ground this time last year. Strasser’s family is seeing some promising signs, with waters receding in a few places.  But it’s going to be a long and slow process to dry out completely.

“It’s tough but, you know, you pick up, move on and you fight another year,” sad Ralph’s son, Kent Strasser.

Of course more days with sunshine would go a long way to help out.  Unfortunately a wet week ahead, will only push water higher.

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