Volunteers needed for sandbagging as heavy rain forecast creates potential for flash flooding

DE SOTO, Mo. – People in Jefferson County were wasting no time preparing for potential flash flooding as the weather was forecasted to bring a torrential downpour.

Time and time again, the City of De Soto has come together to battle rising waters. Volunteers as far as St. Louis came out to help fill nearly 800 bags to be delivered to residents living in low-lying areas, including the elderly and disabled.

But as of late Thursday night, there was a need for more volunteers, especially those who have pick-up trucks, to help transport the sandbags.

“Your hands get real sore from stringing the bags sometimes,” said Mark Arbuthnot. “It’s good to be prepared just in case. We are not sure what the weather is going to do but if the rain comes and the creek rises they will have something to defends their home with.”

It’s a method that’s been tried and tested many times every time the Joachim Creek overflows.

“We can’t really get used to it,” said Paula Arbuthnot. “Because every time the rain leaves you on edge but this time it’s getting a little more serious and we’ve been through three floods or now, I guess, four floods in five years.”

But residents said that it’s five years too long. Many of them have been demanding permanent solutions.

“The Army Corp of Engineers generally does not do any kind of a permanent fix like levees anymore,” Arbuthnot said. “They’re pretty well done with those programs and FEMA is beginning to start giving up on raising houses out of the floodplains.”

Arbuthnot also explained how last month the city took a major step in flood management by installing a stream gauge to help provide advance warning of flooding on the Joachim Creek so that people can start preparing ahead of time.

“We’ve done this before and after a while, you just don’t look forward to it at all,” said Louis Pratt. “The cleanup is the problem. Whenever it does flood, that muddy mess is just something you can’t get rid of.”