Heavy Rains Hit Bootheel Harvest Season

September 25, 2006 - Posted at 7:23 p.m. CDT

QULIN, MO -- It's estimated that the weekend storms dumped between 14 and 18 inches of rain in Southeast Missouri.  Bootheel farmers took a heavy hit with all the excess water, right in the middle of harvest season, but for one Region 8 family, Mother Nature's wrath took a cruel twist.

"From Pocahontas to Neelyville to Portageville and then through here.  It's just all bad," remarked farmer Roger Baxter.

Baxter should be spending his day in the fields thrashing rice, but his plans changed on Saturday morning.

"Well, about 6:30 a.m., I woke up because I heard something fall.  I got up and stepped in to about three inches of water and so I started screaming to my husband," said Debbie Baxter.

With waters rising about an inch an hour, the Baxters were able to evacuate their three daughters to safety.

"My bedroom had about 13.5 inches of water in it.  Throughout the rest of the house was about four inches and it slowly started receding just yesterday," said Debbie Baxter.

"Fish came up through the laundry room dryer through the two holes where it went down," laughed Roger Baxter, "There were actually fish in the laundry room.  It was such a mess."

The Cache River runs about a quarter of a mile from the Baxter house on "N" highway in Qulin, but Roger Baxter believes this is the first time in his lifetime the waters have ever gotten up so high they've made it into the yard.

"There are fields that we can't get to, so we really don't know how much we have lost yet," said Roger Baxter, "Behind me, there are close to 80 acres of rice that have been under since Friday night.  It's four or five feet under water."

Baxter estimates at least 400 acres are a loss...possibly more.  He won't know for sure until the water recedes.  The flood waters came within four inches of the Baxter's grain bins, but fortunately they were spared.

The family has not decided on whether or not they will try to salvage the home...they are staying with relatives in the meantime.