Flooding concerns in Portage Des Sioux, West Alton

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. - Officials in northern St. Charles County are warning residents the Mississippi River will overtop already saturated and strained levees in the coming days. New river crest predictions released Tuesday, May 28 have people around Portage Des Sioux and West Alton scrambling to evacuate.

"It's going to affect every single person from west of Portage Des Sioux to all the way to the area we call the Point," said Chief Rick Pender, Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District.

People living in and around Portage Des Sioux and West Alton said they have not seen flood predictions like this since 1993.

"Back in '93, (my parents' house) had about four to five foot (of water) in it, I believe," said Austin Twellman. "We're expecting to see about two to three foot, I would assume."

Twellman stopped to talk to Fox 2 while helping his parents move their belongings into a moving truck. Twellman said they had recently renovated the house.

"We came in and hung some drywall, got it all cleaned up for them, so they could come out here and spend their summers, and, well, Mother Nature has other plans," said Twellman.

Twellman said the Portage Des Sioux community rallied together Tuesday to help people move furniture, appliances and other important items.

Officials conducted a controlled release of the Mississippi River in West Alton on Monday, May 27 to relieve some of the pressure on the levee. Residents living east of Highway 67 were urged to evacuate their homes.

Pender said the controlled release was successful in that it helped alleviate some of the pressure on the levee, but it was still only a matter of time before the swollen Mississippi River got too high for the levees to hold back.

The new crest predictions forced the Rivers Point Fire Protection District to evacuate its fire station in West Alton.

"With the new crest that came out at 38.5 feet, our upper level of our fire station is going to have water in it," said Pender.

According to Pender, the all-volunteer fire district will receive automatic aid from neighboring fire districts while its station is out of service so no call is missed. Pender said response times may be delayed during this time, so he urges people who are not in flood-ready homes to get themselves, their pets, and important items to a safer location quickly.

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