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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Residents work to save homes

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Jim Terrell and Jerry Kelley fill sand bags at Orscheln Farm and Home Supply to protect their homes from rising water.
SIKESTON -- When Jerry Kelley first noticed the rising level of water in the ditch that sits in his front yard on Pam Street, he was forced to take off work Friday to preserve his home from being consumed by the flood of water pouring in from the street.

The first item on Kelley's list of things to do was to make sandbags. He spent his morning filling sand bags at Orcsheln Farm and Home Supply in Sikeston. From there, he went home to put the sandbags to use.

"I've lived here for 32 years, and I have never seen it [the street] that covered," Jerry Kelley said. "Now, I'm just trying to save my air conditioning unit."

Even though three or four culverts are positioned in the ditch that runs across Kelley's front lawn, it's not enough to keep the water from overflowing. The main cause of the flooding is that the ditch is clogged up with dead brush, old washing machines and TVs, he said.

"My three neighbors' yards behind me are full of water, too," Kelley said. "My street is completely covered in water from one end to the other," Kelley said. "They're not as covered as mine, but they're covered."

Kelley doesn't think his street would be flooded if the ditch wasn't so congested, he said. Kelley said he knows it's been years since the City has cleaned the ditch on his street. Sikeston Public Works Director Tom Bridger said the reason the ditches are full in town is simply because the ground is so saturated due to the large amount of rainfall over the past couple of days and because some of the ditches drain into each other.

Most of Sikeston's flooding is in the southeastern part of town, Bridger said. Aside from Pam, the list of flood streets Friday included Donna, Crowe, Andrea and Oklahoma, he said.

Flooding isn't just happening in Sikeston, either. In Dexter, the First Midwest Bank was closed Friday at the intersection of One Mile Road and Business 60 due to heavy water damage. The City is trying to relieve the flood problem by pumping some of the busy streets, but their resources are limited so they can't possibly get to every street in town, Bridger explained. The City has had to rent and borrow pumps from other areas, and the Department of Public Saftey has been helping them, too, he said. Streets pumped Friday were Donna, Andrea and Petroleum.

"The best thing that we have going for us right now is that the rain is supposed to stop after Friday," Bridger stated. "It's not supposed to rain for the next few days or so. Hopefully, that will give some time for the water level to lower."

Bridger recommends to residents like Kelley, who the City can't help immediately, to keep sandbagging and to limit traffic through the flooding streets because water can be easily splashed onto buildings.

"We're doing all that we can do," Bridger said. "We're trying to handle this proactively and realistically."