Floodwaters Continue To Rise After Torrential Rain In Missouri

Dec 30, 2015
Originally published on December 30, 2015 6:29 pm
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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The rain has stopped, but the flooding in Missouri is getting worse. At least 13 people have died, and thousands have been evacuated. The Meramec River runs through the state and has had some of the worst flooding. Willis Ryder Arnold of St. Louis Public Radio sent this report.

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WILLIS RYDER ARNOLD, BYLINE: Patty Titus stands at the edge of the Meramec River as it runs up the side of her house and pours into her basement. It's the house she grew up in.

PATTY TITUS: All my parents' stuff, dishes, furniture, lost my freezer, my refrigerator, things that can't be replaced - lot of memories and things.

ARNOLD: Family, friends and volunteers fill sand bags and place them against the rising waters. Here in the town of Arnold, Mo., the flood is swallowing scores of homes. Trucks drive by delivering sand to people who have been driven up sandbagging around the clock. Titus's daughter Maggie stands in water up to her knees.

MAGGIE TITUS: I was born and raised here for 18 years. I'm on break for college, and I didn't expect a flood, so it's kind of scary seeing my house filled with water right now. I'm trying to do the best I can.

ARNOLD: The Meramec drains into the Mississippi River, where much of the shipping traffic has been halted. Lieutenant Sean Haley with the U.S. Coast Guard says the swollen river is moving fast.

LIEUTENANT SEAN HALEY: The main danger is debris, the high water, the flooding, and then the increased velocity of the river itself causes a lot of potential dangers.

ARNOLD: Haley says the crest is like a giant wave moving south and will cause problems downstream in the coming days. Louisiana's governor today declared a state of emergency because of the threat. The Army Corps of Engineers says this flood will be worse than the record one that hit Missouri in 1993. It's expected to reach its peak tomorrow. For NPR News, I'm Willis Ryder Arnold in St. Louis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.