Carter County braces for rainy weekend, fears more flooding

Carter County braces for rainy weekend, fears more flooding
On Thursday, June 7, lawmakers and emergency management officials met to discuss the rebuilding of the Carter County Justice Center the sheriff's office and the courthouse.

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - It's been less than a year since a historic flood devastated Carter County, Missouri and left many buildings completely underwater. Now, residents are bracing for more rain and flooding chances this weekend.

Rick Stephens is the Sheriff of Carter County. He feels that emergency management team responded well to last's year historic flood and if something similar were to happen he said they're more prepared for it.

"After you deal with a major incident like we did last year there is no more complacency," Stephens said.

Several days of rainfall has caused the Current River to slowly rise, and it's already starting to flood the lower part riverfront park in Van Buren.

That has residents worried, and Sheriff Stephens is working to calm those fears.

"Let's make sure we are getting the information out to people," he said. "Let's make sure that as we're watching the levels as they get to certain points start to initiate parts of our plan as we did before, but I think there is a little bit more of a sense of urgency with us and probably some of that anxiety."

In May 2017, the Current River rose to a historic level of 37.5 feet, and after days of flooding Stephens spoke to a representative from the Missouri Secretary of State's office who said that Carter County had received a unique designation.

"It was the first time that an entire county government had been destroyed in one singular natural disaster in the state," he said.

That included the historic county courthouse in Van Buren, which is currently being restored, and Stephen's county jail and Sheriff's office was flooded beyond repair.

For now, the Sheriff's office has a temporary location on the outskirts of town, and Stephens said that they will be there for several years until they can build new facilities outside the flood zone.

"It's a thing that has never left our minds or lips," Stephens said  Our whole purpose is now to not only help the government recover from this but the individual people and citizens."

Those that haven't already signed up to get public safety alerts sent to their phone can do so on the Carter County website.

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