COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Flooding last spring caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage in Howard County and forced some people to evacuate their homes.
Levee breaches and breaks caused floodwaters to tear across farmland and inundate some residences. The damage to the county totaled $893,664, and that figure does not include farmland or damage to cities.
Now, about eight months later, the county, farmers and homeowners are still working to repair what was damaged.
“Sometimes it could take years. I mean after the flood of '93 it seems like there was effects that was felt from that for a long time after that. And you know there’s still big deep holes along the roads down there that was washed out in the '93 flood," said Bryan Kunze with the Howard County Office of Emergency Management.
"Some of the farmland, you don’t know will it ever be back right again. And then that didn’t include anything with the levees or anything either,” he said.
Farmers with Levee District No. 3 are currently working to repair two levees. The levee districts communicate with the U.S. Amry Corps of Engineers to make repairs, and as long as the work they do follows the corp's standards, they are reimbursed for 80 percent of the cost.
Mark Schupp with Levee District No. 3 said members work to make repairs to levees because it can take the Corps months to get to each levee.
He said if locals do not make repairs to the levees protecting their farmland before planting season their crops will not be insured, which could cost them thousands of dollars.
Even though most of the damage was to farmland, some homeowners had to make repairs to their homes as well.
"We had just a little over 70 homes that was affected and people that, like up Highway Z, that couldn’t get home. They had to use boats or drive through neighbors' fields and stuff like that," Kunze said.
Some people stayed with family or at the Open Praise Bible Center in Boonville, where the Red Cross opened a shelter. Most of them were not able to get to their homes or were forced to almost double their travel time to and from work each day.
Kunze said about eight homes had water in them, and most of them were in New Franklin.
“It’s kind of a two-edged sword because it’s sad that the people that actually had damage to their homes didn’t get any help from the government, but it’s also a good thing that we didn’t have that many homes damaged," he said.
Kunze said outside of repairs, the financial impacts of the flooding will continue to be felt.
“We, unfortunately, lost a couple more businesses that were left down there this year, and so that’s a huge thing for the county because you’re a small rural county you can’t afford to lose any businesses," he said.
The owners of Snoddy's Store just outside of New Franklin decided not to re-open after floodwaters filled the store. Kunze said the store was a staple in the community.
“I know, like, losing the businesses that we did lose, I mean, that’s going to cut the sales tax down. And some of the businesses even that have come back, I mean they were closed for a few months. So, I mean it’s going to hit us hard," Kunze said.
Kunze said no one is sure what flooding in 2020 will look like, but the people who were affected last spring are prepared to leave again if necessary.
“They have to know that it’s a possibility that it’s going to come again. One thing, I mean a lot of people who live close to the river they do know these things happen and they’ve learned to adapt over the years," he said.
The city of New Franklin said in a news release that it will continue to monitor flooding and evacuate homes again if necessary.