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Leaders meet to discuss flood response on Mississippi River

A group of public officials met in Canton, Missouri Tuesday to discuss the response to flooding and to improve in the future. Some of the flood gates in Canton have been removed, and roads are starting to re-open.
Now, city leaders are looking to learn from this experience in order to be better next time.

“They started in the north[ern counties] and worked their way down, we were asked to present information on how the flood thing had gone and how well or badly things we saw that were positive,” said Canton Third Ward Alderman and Mayor Pro-Temp Sharon Upchurch, who represented canton today at the meeting at the Ursa Farmers Co-op in Canton.

One of the major complaints, different flood level predictions from the Army Corps and the National Weather Service.

“There was some suggestion that the Corps should put out a daily email or a twice daily email or something to all the parties, there wasn’t a lot of coordination that way,” said Upchruch.

While Upchruch said Canton city leaders for the most part were pleased with how the flood response turned out, there’s one thing that was brought up at the meeting that they agree needs to change.

“Redrocks didn’t cause the city problems, but a lot of people think the Redrocks reservoir released water right as we were hitting the crest, and boy that scared a lot of people in Canton,” said Upchurch, adding that the one thing almost everyone there agreed on was how other states along the Mississippi communicate more on their response, something officials said they should start being a part of.

“There was a lot of discussion too about the Northern Mississippi and the Southern Mississippi coordinating better than the middle […] but there was a lot of discussion about the various smaller districts here in Missouri working together better than they do,” said Upchurch.

One of the issues Upchruch said was discussed is how many of the levee district representatives are farmers.
They are busy trying to plant during flood season, and don’t have time to go to meetings.

In Hannibal, flood gates remain in for the time being. Officials said while they’ll likely be okay to remove this Saturday, they may wait until Monday to remove them so city workers don’t have to work more overtime.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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