(Reporter Brent Martin at Missourinet St. Joseph affiliate KFEQ Radio contributed to this story)
Widespread flooding across northwest Missouri is rekindling a long-simmering dispute between the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The massive flooding in north Missouri has prompted Governor Mike Parson (R) to issue a state of emergency. And the National Weather Service (NWS) in Pleasant Hill has issued a flash flood warning for St. Joseph, which remains in effect until Friday morning at 8:15.
“The rising floodwaters are affecting more Missouri communities and farms, closing more roads and threatening levees, water treatment plants and other critical infrastructure,” Governor Parson says.
Governor Parson, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, state Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Chris Chinn, Missouri National Guard Major General Stephen Danner and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Director Ron Walker met with local officials Thursday in both Rock Port and St. Joseph.
The group also took an aerial survey of the Missouri River’s flooding impact across northwest Missouri.
During a briefing with St. Joseph-area reporters at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, Governor Parson says he hasn’t spoken to the Corps yet, but says they need to change their priorities to put the safety of people and their property first.
“I think there’s a long history with the state not being really happy with the Corps of Engineers, how they conduct this thing, how they’re doing these levees and how they’re actually using the waterways in our state. So it’s a concern,” Parson says.
Director Chinn says no one can tell the extent of the damage to farmland.
“Right now it’s too early to assess the damage, we have to wait for the water to recede,” Chinn tells reporters. “However, the Missouri FSA (Farm Service Agency) office is going to be prepared and ready when that time comes to start assessing the damage.”
Chinn says the state will be requesting federal assistance from the U-S Department of Agriculture (USDA). FSA is part of the USDA.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst says thousands of acres of crop land are under water, and that flooding damage to highways, bridges and railroads in north Missouri “will take months and years to repair.”
Governor Parson says the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) rescued several people from homes Wednesday night near Craig, along with three other people from a stranded boat.
The governor says a temporary levee in the town of Craig has failed. Craig, which is located in Holt County, is a town of about 200 people. Governor Parson also says a Red Cross shelter in Mound City is currently housing 12 people who’ve been forced from their homes due to flooding.
The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has been supplying tetanus shots to residents in both Atchison and Holt counties.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley plans to visit Holt County on Friday morning.