Cities brace for summer of high water on Missouri River

Prompted by a swelling Missouri River, the Weston City Hall services are on the move. By Friday, operations will be relocated from the old train depot into an old bank building uphill on Main Street.

In Weston and elsewhere in the region, preparations are being made for a long summer of high water. The Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota is preparing to release an unprecedented amount of water starting the middle of next week, which will bring a surge of water to this area in several days.

The releases into the Missouri River — the result of significant rainfall and snow melt in northern states — will continue through the summer.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard with task forces assigned to the eastern and western regions of the state, said Maj. Tammy Spicer, National Guard public affairs officer.

“We’re working with emergency operation centers to try and anticipate the needs of the community,” she said. “We’re prepared to do a variety of missions from helping with sandbagging to security missions.”


Officials and volunteers gathered by the farmers market Wednesday with plans to work on sandbagging late into the night.

“Maps are showing pretty significant flooding throughout the downtown areas unless we can do something to stop it,” Alderman Chris Fisher said.

The number of volunteers dropped from 1,000 Tuesday to about half that Wednesday afternoon, with more volunteers needed for the evening sandbagging. Fisher said it was undecided if sandbagging would continue today but said information would be on the city’s website.

Representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers also helped Wednesday and will be providing a portable dam, public affairs specialist Amy Phillips said.

Atchison, Kan.:

Construction started Wednesday on a flood wall of sandbags and concrete. Parts of the wall probably will be finished this week, but City Manager Trey Cocking said final construction will wait until flooding is higher, as it will block some traffic. The wall will protect several downtown businesses.


Today, the city will start filling sandbags to place on the east side of the Riverfront Community Center. The city plans to evacuate the campground, animal shelter, airport and wastewater treatment plant next week. The animal shelter plans to stop adoptions today.

Hamburg, Iowa:

Earlier this week, a levee protecting Hamburg, Iowa, and Atchison County, Mo., suffered two partial breaches. If a full breach occurs, the Iowa Department of Transportation will close Interstate 29 in that area, said Dena Gray-Fisher, Iowa Department of Transportation spokeswoman.