St. Charles preps for potential repeat of Flood of '93 - KMOV.com

St. Charles preps for potential repeat of Flood of '93

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

A wet fall, followed by a snowy winter and soggy spring has saturated the Missouri river basin.

It doesn't bode well for river cities like St. Charles.

The river is already higher than normal and is only expected to get worse from now through July.

You can't say the word 'flood' in downtown St. Charles without conjuring up memories of the flood of '93, even though it's now 18 years later. The city started the first of several meetings on Tuesday to plan for the worst in the weeks to come.

A plaque on a red brick building marks the spot where the Missouri River spilled out of its banks and menaced historic Main Street in 1993.

"The fear is this is going to be a biggie if this happens again," Carol Felzien, public information officer for the City of St. Charles, says.

The Missouri River is holding at 26 feet -- for now. It's forecast to top off at 37 feet and push water up over Riverside Drive.

"If the water comes into park, it will be out of commission not just for the summer but until the end of year when the water recedes enough so that the grounds aren't so saturated," Felzien says.

And that could cancel or move the Fourth of July River Fest and even impact festivals throughout the fall -- a hard knock for Main Street businesses.

French Town, just north of there, is an even bigger concern.

"I had about 35 inches of water in my basement," Shelby Hammer, French Town resident, says.

She survived the Flood of '93 but is optimistic, if not apprehensive, this time around.

"Do you think it's realistic that you could have evacuations this year?" I asked Felzien.

"Yes. We think it could be an area of concern, so we're making sure we have enough sand and sandbags are ready to go," Felzien says.

On Tuesday the Army Corps of Engineers ordered 3 million sandbags for the Missouri River region, and local leaders started mapping out plans to protect the city.

"I've lived here all my life, and it's home," Hammer says. "I guess it's worth the risk."

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