CLARKSVILLE, Mo. (AP) — People in the eastern Missouri hamlet of Clarksville are getting a boost from the Missouri National Guard and even from prison inmates as they battle the surging Mississippi River.
The river is expected to crest nearly 11 feet above flood stage on Sunday at Clarksville, an unprotected town of 442 residents about 60 miles north of St. Louis. Residents and volunteers have built a makeshift levee made of gravel, plastic overlay and sandbags. On Saturday, attention turned to making sure the sandbag levee is sturdy enough to hold back the water.
Governor Jay Nixon visited Clarksville on Saturday.
Flooding continues to be a problem in the St. Louis metro area as rain-swollen creeks remain out of their banks.
Now the National Weather Service is warning that the Mighty Mississippi will likely over-spill it's banks in the next few days. A flood warning has been issued for communities along the river from Canton, Missouri -- north of Hannibal, to Chester, Illinois. That warning includes the riverfront in St. Louis.
Officials say the Mississippi will rise above flood stage by Friday evening. It's expected to crest at around 39.4 feet by Tuesday morning.
A bad turn in their Smart car plunges two men into the Mississippi River this morning.
They were able to escape on their own but but were helped up the riverbank near Mullanphy Street north of downtown by rescue workers just after 10 a.m.
Both were treated at the scene by paramedics, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. One had his arm put in a sling by rescue workers.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports officials say it appeared the men were trying to turn the vehicle around when they backed over the embankment and into the water.
What began as a river rescue is now a recovery operation.
A small fishing boat capsized on the Mississippi River Saturday afternoon, dumping two men and a 10 year old boy into the wind torn water.
A towboat crew found the boy and pulled him to safety.
More than two dozen fire and rescue crews spent the day Sunday searching for the boy's step-father and another man, but both are still missing. Hartford Fire Assistant Chief Bill Owens says they searched in the water and along the banks from Hartford, Illinois south to the Chain of Rocks Bridge.
By Sunday afternoon Owens expressed little hope that the men would be found alive.
Owens says the boy was wearing a life jacket when he was pulled from the water. It's not known if the men were wearing theirs, since two life jackets have been found in the area.
Crews will resume searching Monday morning using sonar provided by the Illinois Conservation Department.
The river reached an historic low at St. Louis on January first - the ninth lowest level ever recorded, and just a foot-and-a-half above the record low. Since then, snowfall and rain across the Midwest have brought the Mississippi back up to normal levels.
Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Mike Petersen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that they believe the worst is over. But Petersen cautioned that low water levels could return if the drought persists in the Midwest.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been using two dredges, one from Memphis, Tenn., the other from St. Louis, to help keep the river channel clear. The work has been especially important this winter because the river level has been near historic lows, threatening barge traffic.
The corps says the dredges need seasonal maintenance, and crews are due for time off. The dredging season normally ends in November but was extended in the so-far successful fight to keep the river open.
The two dredges removed more than 8 million cubic yards of sediment in the last six months in the area between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. The corps says that is more than twice the normal amount.