Current River in southeast Missouri reaches year-high so far

Law enforcement in Carter County is urging drivers to not drive over water-covered roads....
Law enforcement in Carter County is urging drivers to not drive over water-covered roads. (Source: Carter County Sheriff Rick Stevens)
Updated: May. 2, 2019 at 5:53 PM CDT
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CARTER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Ongoing rain has caused the Current River to reach its highest point so far in this year.

Property owners and businesses along the water who learned lessons from the record breaking flood in Spring of 2017 are preparing for the worst.

This is an area still not fully recovered from the floods two years ago.

John Story was stranded at his vacation home during the historic flood two years ago, and knows who quickly the Current River can get out of hand.

“During the worst part the river rose a few feet every hour for three hours straight,” Story said. “It was quite a bit worse than this one so far, but you never know what you are going to get. This river is notoriously hard to predict.”

So Story did not take any chances and dropped everything to prepare his second home on the Current River for another flood.

“We came on over to get some things out of the basement to make sure that if the water does come in the house we don’t lose some other items that we lost two years ago,” he said.

On Thursday, May 2, the river gauge in Van Buren got up to about 14 feet.

At that level the National Park service does not allow any fishing boats or floating devices to be on the water and if it that continues it will hurt the local economy.

“A lot of our business comes from the campgrounds and every campground right now is underwater,” said Tom Bedell whose family owns The Landing.

Bedell said their lodging and dining services keep them afloat year round but their main business is tubing, canoeing and rafting which can only happen when the river is below five feet.

“Right now is when we start cranking up and we would like to have our gravel bar where we could put our stuff out but of course that is not happening,” Bedell said. “But if we are going to have a big river we’d rather have it in May than in June.”

Bedell hoped the river level drops by Memorial Day Weekend, but Story is worried the water will have no place to go.

“Because of the Mississippi being so high I don’t expect this to be a fast drop either,” Story said. “And the additional rain in the ten day forecast it could potentially make the problem even worse than it is now.”

Carter County Sheriff Rick Stephens is urging drivers in the area to not cross water covered roads and to instead turn around, don’t drown.

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