Fourth breach in Black River Levee, Levels rise at Lake Wappapello

Published: Apr. 26, 2011 at 8:24 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2011 at 6:20 PM CDT
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levee breach (Source: Tyler Profilet)
levee breach (Source: Tyler Profilet)
Lake Wappapello spillway on Wednesday (Source: Tyler Profilet)
Lake Wappapello spillway on Wednesday (Source: Tyler Profilet)
Flooding in Poplar Bluff, MO (Source: cNews)
Flooding in Poplar Bluff, MO (Source: cNews)
Poplar Bluff along Hwy. 53 (cNews: Randy Morgan)
Poplar Bluff along Hwy. 53 (cNews: Randy Morgan)

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - There has been a fourth breach in the Black River Levee near Qulin.

It happened along County Road 202 Wednesday morning, according to Jeff Rolland with the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

Scott Phelps with the Poplar Bluff Police Department says they are not calling for evacuations because everyone who wanted to leave the area is already out.  They are still looking at determining the size of the breach.  This is near the same area that gave them problems in the flood of 2008.

Several thousand people have been evacuated and there have been nearly 85 flood rescues in the past couple of days in Poplar Bluff.

Butler County emergency officials are still concerned about the Black River Levee.

There is also a possibility that the Lake Wappapello water level may overflow the emergency spillway, according to the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

Hwy T will close Wednesday, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.  They are closing it to help preserve the infrastructure.

An alternate route in Butler County is County Road 514 and in Wayne County the same road is called County Road 517.  It's also called the old Iron Bridge Road.

Emergency Management Director Rick Sliger says there were three separate large levee breaches between Poplar Bluff and Qulin, Missouri Tuesday.  Two of those breaches were along County Road 607.

The southern side of the Lower Caney Basin Dam in Scott County and the Jenkins Basin Levee in Stoddard County breached Tuesday threatening homes in Shady Dell, Bell City, and Cline's Island.

A representative of the Missouri Department of Transportation advised that flood waters were now approaching US Hwy 67 at Neelyville, Missouri.

Poplar Bluff Street Department Superintendent Jeremy Grable advised that flood waters continued to rise at Peach St and North G St in east Poplar Bluff Tuesday as well.

Butler County President Commissioner Ed Strenfel says flooding levels have already reached 2008 levels and it's only expected to get worse.

Water was gushing out of the levee breach into farm fields just after it breached Tuesday morning where water first came over the levee Monday.

Authorities say this levee breach is good for the city of Poplar Bluff, but bad for the county.  The break relieves some of the pressure on levees protecting the city, but thousands of acres of floodland and several homes in the county are in jeopardy after this breach.

Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce President Steve Halter has spoken with local farmers about the possibility of pumping water from the Industrial Park on Hwy 142 into fields south of Cravens Rd.

Lieutenant Dave Sutton with the Poplar Bluff Police Department said there were 35-40 spots where water was leaking before the levee breach.  County Road 607 was sandbagged by the street department.

Sutton said the water patrol had 59 water rescues overnight Monday.

Butler County Presiding Commissioner Ed Strenfel says many county roads are washed out early Tuesday morning.

"We pray it will hold," Strenfel said before the breach, but also admitted anything could happen.

No injuries have been reported.

Highway WW or Ditch Road is closed from 5th Overpass Street to Highway 53.  Click here for a current list of flooded roads.

Sutton said it rained five inches in Poplar Bluff just Monday.

Some 1,000 homes in Poplar Bluff were evacuated Monday.  Even though water levels have dropped in the city limits of Poplar Bluff.  Those who were mandatorily evacuated are not allowed back into their homes until the level 20 feet.  It was at 20.8 feet Wednesday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, the temporary shelter at the Black River Coliseum housed 275 people, and 112 household pets.

They've brought in kennels to house them.

The Humane Society of Missouri is sending an eight-member Disaster Response Team to Poplar Bluff, Mo. in Butler County to rescue and shelter pets affected by flooding from the Black River.

The field assessment team will canvass the area searching for and rescuing stranded and lost pets.

An emergency shelter with the capacity to care for at least 100 pets will be set up.

Those displaced by the flooding who need shelter for their pets can call the Poplar Bluff Emergency Management Agency, 573-686-8686.

Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce President Steve Halter will coordinate donations of non-perishable supplies. Steve Halter can be reached at 785-7761.

A representative from the American Red Cross said that friends and family of persons who sought shelter can check their status at Monetary donations for the Red Cross can be made online at

The United Gospel Rescue Mission is also accepting donations (the Mission has contributed a great deal toward feeding flood victims and first responders).

Residents can check for updates on twitter@pbpd.  Non-emergency questions or concerns should be directed to 573-686-8685.

Citizens are urged to avoid the affected areas completely.  Sightseers could congest roads and place themselves at risk.

Sightseers travelling by boat could unintentionally cause significant damage to the levee system, if only by disturbing the water in the area.

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