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Hannibal residents sandbagging personal property as river crests

Just a few feet would separate downtown from flooding in Hannibal if it wasn’t for the levee extension that’s been installed with help from volunteers, but people in town are worried they might not be out of the woods yet.

“We have to be safe rather than sorry and there’s a lot of effort going on downtown and here sandbagging to prepare if the crest goes much higher than it is,” said sandbagging volunteer Robert Chriscinske, just one of many volunteers today.

Dozens of volunteers came out to help sandbag today

Chriscinske said he’s lived in Hannibal a long time and while this isn’t as bad as the flood of 1993, it’s already worse than 2008.

“This is worse, it seems to be challenging because of the unknowns– this crest back on say the 18th, we were looking on opening up the armory and having the armory open for activities, 10 days later we’re back in this,” said Chriscinske.

While many of those bags volunteers made headed to the riverfront to help re-enforce the levee and protect downtown, residents also pickied up bag to help protect their property.

“We have a whole lot of lumber, and we just re-modeled the store, and we’re not quite finished with it– we just don’t want to lose it. We were down yesterday helping with the levy make sure that’s good, we came home and saw it’s coming up good, and we’re talking about a lot of water,” said Kent Taylor who owns a building off Warren Barrett drive.

Taylor (right most) sandbagging behind his property

Taylor said while it’s been a victim to minor flooding in the past, he’s hoping to stop it by sandbagging. He said long-term something should be done to prevent this.

“I just think they need to bring all the levees up to 35 feet, it would be a smart plan for everybody, corps of engineers everybody, it’s already proven itself twice, what more do they want? A little ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Taylor.

“The question is, ten days from now, will it change again? That’s part of the preparation,” said Chriscinske.

River levels are supposed to crest Friday for Hannibal. But, people Taylor said he knows a drop in river levels could be very short-lived.

The flood waters have also closed Highway 79 there. The extensions added to the levee increase its height by 2-feet.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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