Thursday, August 8, 2013

Investigating the Local Flooding: A Personal Point of View 8/8/2013

Destination One - Six Miles from Home

This morning I decided to investigate the flooding surrounding my hometown, Belle, Missouri. In Maries County, Highway 42 West begins on the outskirts of Belle. So, this was my first destination. Road Closed barriers were place within feet of the Hwy. 28 and Hwy. 42 West. intersection. After snapping a picture to share with you, I drove between the two barriers and proceeded to drive another five miles to the first Mill Creek Branch bridge. Another set of Road Closed barriers were placed in the roadway as a notice to local traffic of the flooded roadway immediately ahead.

When I arrived, two local residents were viewing the flooded intersection of County Road 319 - Highway 42 West. Genevieve Cox, a long time resident of the Mill Creek Branch area, told me that she could not remember the second Mill Creek Branch bridge having been submerged before, or the intersection of County Road 319. 

Destination Two - Ten Miles from Home

My second destination was the Highway 89 bridge, ten miles north of Belle, Missouri, in Osage County. Clustered recreational vehicles parked on the hilltop above the bridge served as an advance notice of the flooding I would soon see at the bridge.

After parking my car at the flooded, private RV park entrance, immediately before the bridge, I sat absorbing the sounds and sights of the flooding river for a moment. The muddy river water roared around the bridge pillars, trees, and any other obstacle that stood in its way. Drivers slowed to a crawl as they viewed the churning, brown water racing under the bridge, a partially submerged river home, and the engulfed fields of the river bottom. On the far side of bridge, Road Closed barriers sat across the beginning of Highway E, which runs through the fertile farmland of the old Gasconade river course to Rich Fountain, Missouri. 

The Gasconade - Rising or Falling?

The Gasconade is one of the few North American rivers that flows north, rather than south. Because of this, The Gasconade may continue to flood as torrential rainfall moves across southern Missouri from Joplin to Popular Bluff. Storms continue to track across Kansas and into Missouri today. As I write this article, rain is falling outside. 

Flooded Private RV Park
Fields and Pasture Underwater

As I sit here typing, my thoughts keep going back to the scene at the Highway 89 bridge. The muted, rumbling roar that dwarfed every other sound. The power of the torrential flood made me feel small and insignificant. The video links help convey the sights and sounds that assaulted my eyes and ears, but the vibrating power that I felt through the soles of my shoes cannot be conveyed by words, by video, or by pictures. I feel like a tiny speck after viewing the raging river in person.