Historic Flooding in Region Eight

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KAIT)-On the flood wall in Caruthersville, Missouri it lists the major flood stages of the Mississippi River.  The biggest was back in 1937 when flood waters reached 46 feet.  Currently the Mississippi near Caruthersville is just over 40 feet and is expected to crest at 41 feet.

Since the early  1900's things have changed drastically.  Now, flood wall and levees protect many cities that border the Mighty Mississippi.

"Basically, when the water rises like this it can't spill over into the cities because they have the levees to protect it."

Pemiscot County Emergency Mangement Director Danny Dodson says with those levees it is a lot easier to keep his residents safe.

"We've got a lot more control.  Actually the river would have to get over 50 feet to actually start worrying about breaching levees," said Dodson.

But even the levees don't completely calm the fears of residents when the river gets this high.

"It was 35 on Friday when I drove by, and now it has come up this far."

Cathey Morgan grew up in Caruthersville, and even remembers playing on the levees when she was a child.  Now, years later, she's still mesmerized by the power of the river.

"I come up here to check on the river all the time.  A lot of times I sit up here.  So, I watch the river quite a bit," saod Morgan.

On Tuesday, doezens of residents could be found looking down on the river.  They too are thankful that the levees are holding.

"This levee has been here a lot longer than I have.  I guess its held up," said James Cummings.

"Them old levees especially out there has been here for a long time.  I haven't ever even seen water come through them.  So, I've got a lot of faith in these levees," said Morgan.

Faith that is much needed as the flood of 2008 gets ready to go down in history.

"This is one of the years that we'll remember as far as the water rising," said Dodson.

The Army Corps of Engineers have now closed the flood gates in Caruthersville.

We are told there are 65-thousand sandbags in the area should they be needed, and another 200-thousand that could be brought up from Memphis.

And stay with Region Eight News for the latest on the Flood of '08.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.