West Alton residents start cleaning-up from Flood

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WEST ALTON, MO. (KPLR) –If the Mississippi River drops to a 30 foot flood level at Alton by Sunday morning, the evacuation recommendation for West Alton residents will be cancelled.

The town's emergency management director Gary Machens said pressure is dropping on the levees that still protect much of West Alton and even a forecast for rain should not cause much concern.

Many townspeople never left or they are already back.  Farmers could be seen in their fields Saturday working around low areas that remain flooded.

For the Wunderlich family of West Alton the break in sandbagging operations on the levees came at the right time.  Dozens gathered in the town's park to celebrate the first birthday of Kathy and Travis Wunderlich's son Kenny.

"Everybody has been working really hard, staying up late sandbagging and making sure the levees hold so it was nice to have a day of relaxing and just having some fun celebrating the baby's birthday," his mother said.

A small business area at Highway 67 and Red School Rd. is drying out.  Workers started the flood cleanup there Friday night.  A beauty salon, used car business, fireworks shop and a Dirt Cheap Cigarette and Beer store took several feet of flood water when the levee was breached.

The flood water moved in so quickly staff at the Dirt Cheap could not move out much merchandise before they had to pull out.  One worker even had to leave behind an SUV that had already taken on water.

Tony Marcks of Blanton Construction said crews were working around the clock to help restore normal operations.   Dirt Cheap staff spent Saturday dumping product damaged in the flood.

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