Officials begin analyzing aftermath of floods

Monday, December 28, 2015

Barry County early estimate more than $1 million in damages

Officials in Barry County are beginning to survey damages after flooding over the Christmas weekend.

David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management director, said Barry County saw some of the highest rain totals in Missouri, as 12 inches fell in areas between Purdy and Monett. Flat Creek, considered to be in flood stage at 7 feet, crested at 19.84 feet when the city flooded on July 7. On Sunday at 6 a.m., the National Weather Service's gauge in Jenkins read 24.77 feet, and by midnight Monday, it had risen to 25.24 feet.

In analyzing the damage, Compton originally thought the county, cities and schools saw maybe $500,000 in damages, but that number is developing to be much higher.

"Based on additional information about damages we learned on Monday, to road districts and schools, we expect to raise our disaster declaration estimate to between $1 million and $1.5 million," he said. "And, that's with less than half of the road districts reporting, because some still can't even see their roads."

Compton said another preliminary estimate will be delivered on Thursday, but a full picture will not be pieced together until the middle of next week.

While businesses do not look to be as devastatingly-affected as in July, the Cassville school district is dealing with flooding in one of its buildings. Richard Asbill, superintendent, said 2-3 inches of water was flowing in the lower level of Cassville Intermediate School on Monday.

"Water is still coming in, and it will take a few days before we can get it all out," he said Monday morning. "It's too soon to know a damage estimate, and we're making alternative plans to move classes to other parts of the building or to the middle school. We're trying to get school started on Jan. 4 as planned."

Asbill said no water entered the schools in July, but this past weekend was a different story.

"We had a water issue in 2008, but this is a lot worse than that," he said.

Roaring River State Park did not see the kind of damage it dealt with in July, according to Hatchery Manager Paul Spurgeon.

"We really dodged a bullet, because it could've been a lot worse," he said. "But, the hatchery came through without a scratch, and there's some high water from the spring, but less than expected."

Spurgeon said water this time came mainly from Dry Hollow, which kept the upper end of the park from seeing the same kinds of damage as in July.

"The river didn't even get out of its banks at the top," he said. "But, Dry Hollow came over the highway, and part of that stream is messed up."

Compton said an issue looking forward is Table Rock Lake, as the water is rising at a rate of up to half a foot per hour.

"Beaver Dam is releasing water at a rate of 91,000 cubic feet per second because Beaver Lake was at 112 percent capacity and reaching its crest," he said. "Table Rock crests at 935.6 feet, and anything above 930 or 934, we'll start to see flooding in areas like Big Bass Bend."

Compton said the Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the dam, is considering releasing water into Taneycomo, as the White River system is too full to take on any more.

"There is a proposal to do a release from Table Rock to Taneycomo at 80,000 cubic feet per second, which is much higher than ever done before," he said. "Table Rock is a big lake and can take on 40,000 or 50,000 cubic feet per second easily, but anything over 60,000 makes it go up fast."

Compton said he is also concerned about low temperatures in the following days, as standing water may turn to ice.

"By [today], there will still be standing water, and there will be freezing temperatures," he said. "So, we may start having ice-related incidents."

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