Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Residents evacuate low-lying Poplar Bluff neighborhoods

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KRCU) - Residents of Poplar Bluff fled to higher ground Monday as the city issued a mandatory evacuation of its low-lying southern neighborhoods.

City officials decided that the Black River levee was bound to fail, and took action to remove residents from their houses.

The Black River levee is leaking but it did not rupture overnight.

The police department is reporting 59 water rescues Monday night. Most of the rescues were people who were trapped in their homes.

Captain Don Trout says that there are currently 259 people in the Black River Coliseum, which is serving as an evacuation shelter.

As many at 1500 residents fled their homes for higher ground, according to Jim Hoyt, a Poplar Bluff pastor.

He says that he has seen homes with a foot or two of water. Any neighborhood near the Black River been impacted by the floods.

"It has not only crested the edge of the river, but it has gone, probably, I would guess, a mile inland," Hoyt said. "And it’s filled every yard and every basement and it’s gotten up in to homes that entire way. I mean, it’s pretty bad."

At least 150 residents have taken shelter at the Black River Coliseum. Hoyt says that the facility is also in a flood-prone area and has become difficult to access.

“It’s unfortunate that our largest facility in town is kinda’ right in the middle of the flooding zone. So it’s really hard to get to the actual place where they are staying,” Hoyt said.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon activated the National Guard yesterday to assist with emergency response efforts.

The troops’ effort will include assisting local emergency response teams with threats to levees near Poplar Bluff and other southern Missouri communities.

About 200 are in Poplar Bluff to assist emergency responders.

The National Weather Service is forecasting more rain through Wednesday.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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