Sandbagging efforts ramp up in St. Joseph

While Leavenworth and Parkville have finished sandbagging efforts for this week, St. Joseph is preparing for a full weekend of it to keep the Missouri River at bay.

The north area of St. Joseph will be placed under a voluntary evacuation order when the river reaches 25 feet and a mandatory evacuation order at 27 feet. On the south side of the city, a voluntary evacuation will begin at 30 feet. The river is expected to be at 23.1 feet by Saturday, and levels are predicted to be between 27 and 32 feet, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Parkville volunteers and officials filled and placed sandbags for three days this week. The Army Corps has also placed a portable dam in the area.

Leavenworth is using sandbags to protect both its community center and a wastewater treatment plant. An unprotected campground will be evacuated at noon Sunday.

Today, the Army Corps of Engineers will begin releasing 145,000 cubic feet of water per second from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota and is expected to reach the maximum output level for the summer – 150,000 cubic feet per second – by Tuesday or Wednesday, said Jody Farhat, chief of the Missouri River basin water management. A week ago, the release rate was 84,900 cubic feet per second.