In this region, we are surrounded by water. If you look at the map, you’ll see we are bordered by the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Tennessee River, Clarks River, Kentucky Lake and Barkley Lake. There is a system of dams that works to protect this part of the country, but the amount of water we received overwhelmed the system. The ground became saturated, and we finally reached the point that there was nowhere for new rainfall to go. It seeped into areas where it normally doesn’t go, and even though floodgates were installed in our city and others, we just couldn’t protect everything and everybody. There are people who have lived close to the rivers all their lives and are used to dealing with high water, but this flood reached people who have never had flooding on their property. We have seen water in places where it’s never been before.
The road I normally take to work.
Sandbagging became necessary for many people.
We headed into the weekend thinking that the rivers would crest at one level Tuesday, and then yesterday morning that prediction jumped significantly, putting a lot more folks into crisis mode. People who originally thought their sandbagging was enough tried to sandbag more and watched while the water washed over their sandbags and overtook their homes. Others were forced to give up the fight and leave. We had multiple evacuations in several communities yesterday. Some people who never dreamed they would have to sandbag, found out otherwise and started building a ring of protection around their homes. It all culminated with the Army Corps of Engineers blowing up a section of levee in southeast Missouri that flooded thousands of acres of farmland and destroyed about 100 homes but took the pressure off multiple cities, including ours, and saved thousands of homes and businesses. It was a decision that no one wanted to make, and it bubbled up to the US Supreme Court. Many of you in the states probably saw something about it on the national news this morning. A bit of background, the ability to blow up that levee if need be is something that was put into place after the 1927 flood. The people who own that property have always been aware of that possibility. That doesn’t make it any easier to see your life’s work get washed away in one fell swoop. For the last few days, thousands of folks have been listening and waiting for a decision on detonation. The Corps loaded liquid explosives into tubes in the levee and got everything ready yesterday. We got word late yesterday that it would blow around 9pm. It actually happened a little before 10pm and it was the shot heard round the region.