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Missouri River in St. Joseph begins lowering

The water level of the Missouri River has fallen from Friday.

The river exceeded the previous record set in 1993.

St. Joseph and Buchanan County issued mandatory evacuations for residents in some parts of the city Friday morning.

Crews from St. Joseph Public Works laid between 600 and 800 feet of sandbags, as well as other barriers on the levee while the water was at high levels.

After the water level began to fall, crews with the Missouri Air National Guard laid sandbags on low-lying areas of the levee between St. Joseph and Elwood, Kansas, including near the old railroad tracks on the river.

Rick Howell, public information officer for Doniphan County, said the flooding could have been worse in Kansas and Missouri if the levee had breached or overtopped.

” In fact, the whole town of Elwood would be underwater, including Wathena , which is just two miles down the road, ” said Howell.

Karla Lewis, senior master sergeant with the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard helped lay sandbags Saturday.

” This was kind of a low area and so they put the tarps on and put the sandbags on it because it was getting a little wet underneath, ” said Lewis.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will inspect the levee once the water goes below the major flooding stage.

One St. Joseph resident who was there for the flood of 1993 said crews were more prepared this time.

The National Weather Service reported the water level was at 31.4 feet at 5:30 a.m. Saturday and predicts the levels will continue to decrease. The river could lower from the major flooding stage to a moderate flooding stage as early as Sunday. It should reach the minor flooding stage by the end of the month, but meteorologists are not sure when it will be back to the normal level.

Several areas directly next to the river are still completely or partially submerged in water.

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