An emergency worker at Winfield says the volunteers and workers there have responded admirably, despite the crushing news this morning that floodwaters breached the last in tact levee in Lincoln County.

Brad Farber is coordinating the American Red Cross emergency response in Lincoln County. He spoke with the Missourinet from the 24-hour emergency shelter the Red Cross has established at Winfield High School.

Farber says the breach came as a surprise to many as a massive sandbag effort had kept the Mississippi River from overrunning Winfield, as well as Old Monroe. The National Guard had responded and teamed with volunteers to shore up the Pin Oak levee. The Pin Oak was actually the secondary levee, pressed into front-line service when the primary levee was overtopped and breached days ago.

Floodwaters breached the levee at the south end, according to the Army Corps of Engineers at about 5:20 Friday morning. The Corps states the levee sustained water levels higher than it was designed for and for a much longer period than anyone had hoped. The breach came as the Mississippi was finally reaching a crest and was expected to stabilize over the weekend before slowly receding.

Farber says residents are holding their breath, now relegated to becoming spectators, watching to see where the floodwaters flow. The floodwaters threaten between 100 and 120 homes in Winfield. It appears they might not make their way to Old Monroe as first feared. Despite the breach, Farber says morale remains high among the volunteers and workers. He says it seems that the worst of times brings out the best in people. 

Download/listen Brent Martin interviews Brad Farber of Red Cross about Winfield levee breach (4 min MP3)