Cooper County prepares for more flooding

Cooper County prepares for more flooding

Officials in Cooper County are preparing for more flooding as the Missouri River is expected to rise back into major flood stage by Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, there's not a lot of steps we can take at this point," said Cooper County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Oerly. "The levees are blown out, so there's nothing there to hold the floodwaters back right now."

According to the National Weather Service river forecast, the Missouri River in Boonville is expected to reach 30 feet on Tuesday. That is the second highest crest so far in 2019 behind the nearly 34-foot crest on May 31.

 "We're just warning the people, don't get too carried away with your cleanup yet because we're not done," Oerly said.

Oerly said there was a sandbagging effort at a local business in Cooper County on Monday to try and keep as much water as possible away, but that's nearly all that can be done ahead of the next round of flooding.

Cooper County is hoping to be included in federal disaster relief should the president declare a national emergency in the wake of the flooding.

Oerly said the county will have to meet certain damage cost requirements to be included, but it's hard to tell what the cost of the damage will be with floodwaters still covering most of the area.

"It will take a while because the water went down, but it's coming back up," Oerly said. "The period we're working with started April 29, it is still ongoing, and it will not quit until the river is below major flood level in the state of Missouri and that includes the Mississippi River."

As the river rises again, a multi-agency resource center, or MARC, will open at the Open Bible Praise Center in Boonville on Friday. Representatives from 40 different agencies will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for any victims of the recent natural disasters including flooding and the tornado that swept through Jefferson City and Eldon.

Highway 5 in New Franklin to Highway 5/40 in Boonville reopened Monday afternoon, but Oerly said drivers should stay conscious that things could change.

"People need to realize that while we're trying to get roads back open they could be closed the next day," Oerly said. "Don't let your guard down just yet."

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