WINFIELD, MO (KPLR) – It was an anxious night for people living near the Mississippi River in the Lincoln County towns of Foley and Winfield.
Levees were leaking and seeping as the river approached its crest at Winfield.
River water leaking through the levee and across Highway N just south of Winfield Lock and Dam 25.
It was to be expected with the river close to 9 ft. above flood stage, authorities said.
It was not a sign the levees were about to breach.
However, the river racing by just on the other side and near the tops of the levees, was a major cause for concern.
At some point between Wednesday and Thursday night, the Mississippi was supposed to start going down.
Robert Prescott of Foley had concerns about the forecasted crest.
The river had really been jumping in recent days, he said, looking for the bridge he drove across to go fishing a couple of days ago.
“I know it came up another 6 feet. It had to have. In the last two days. [The bridge is] right there …where that bush is, that’s where the bridge starts. You can’t see it. It’s all under water right now,” Prescott said.
Area farmers and levee district officials were still topping the levee around Foley with sandbags as the sun started to go down. Nearly 12 hours had passed since they started the grueling task; the inmates who’d been helping earlier had been taken back to their jail cells with the river creeping closer and closer to those sandbags.
If the Mississippi rose by just one more foot, 4,000 to 5,000 acres of crops from Foley to Winfield would be washed out; including what looked to be a bumper crop of corn, the farmers said.
“All these levees are tied together from here to Winfield. When one breaks it affects the other,” said Dennis Dove, a farmer who was with the local levee district.
“Last year she came across the levee here. We sandbagged for two days and lost her. She was all the way to town,” said Daryl Dove.
It wiped out the land before farmers could plant.
Even if f the water topped the levees and wiped out the crops, it wouldn’t reach the towns of Winfield and Foley, authorities said.
Last year the river crested in Winfield at 35.4 feet and barely reached town.
The forecasted crest was revised down to 34.7 from 34.8 feet Wednesday night.
The 9:00 pm reading was 36.62.