SIDNEY – Fremont County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Crecelius welcomed news of receding water on Day 7 of record flooding along the Missouri River, but his mood remains somber.
Crecelius: “We’re going to have a rough ride all summer long. There is so much damage to these levees. You have a five inch rain north of us and the river raises, it’s going to come back into places where it’s not suppose to be.”
One of those places is Hamburg, Iowa, which received national attention in 2011 when a make-shift levee kept flood waters at bay.
The US Army Corps of Engineers gave 40 days notice and built up the town’s West Distch No. 6 before the Levee 575 breached. This time, the corps could only let the town know that the top of its levee was about five feet too low.
Crecelius said Hasco bags worked for awhile, but, when there was a break, water poured into town. The flood surged past the fire station, past the flag pole on Main Street and up to the edge of city hall.
Crecelius said the actual flooding and actual damage is severe, and so is the remaining flood threat.
Crecelius: “The biggest problem we’re going to have now, according to the map the National Weather Service sent me this morning, we have 14 breaches along our levees in Fremont County alone.
The problem is, if you start going from Missouri Valley and on south from here, there are so many breaches along there – this isn’t the end. This is not the end of this. The snow pack hasn’t … it’s still snowing in Montana.”
He said places in the northern stretches of the river basin still had 114 percent of snowpack at the first of this month and it may still be snowing by the middle of May, before it really starts melting.
Creclius said he is encouraged by news that flooding did not reach Thurman and that Percival did not experience the rushing flood waters that hit it in 2011, but said he can only warn people to keep their footing.