West Plains Asking Residents to Report Damage, Welcomes Volunteers

May 1, 2017

West Plains’ residents displaced by weekend flooding experienced l a third night away from their homes Monday.

On Saturday, the American Red Cross said over 150 people stayed at its shelter inside First Baptist Church. 70 water rescues were performed in Howell County that night. There were no fatalities.

KSMU’s Jennifer Moore spoke to us Monday from West Plains. She describes one rescue where water inside the home of an 84-year-old woman had risen nearly 5 feet.

“Her furniture was all swirling around and she clung to a sofa for about two hours until rescuers came by boat and took her to a hotel. So she’s just going through her belongings today and is in quite a bit of shock,” Moore said.

She said while water levels have begun to recede, officials are still assessing the damage left by raging creeks and rivers that overflowed their banks.

“What’s left are a lot of bridges that engineers are warning may be structurally unsound. Several bridges in this area have completely washed away, including the Hammond Mill Bridge in south central, which was a very substantial high water bridge.”

Motorists are urged to use caution.

The city of West Plains is urging anyone with damage to call in and report it, which they’ll share with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency may provide assistance if the city is declared eligible. City Hall can be reached is 417-556-7176.

Volunteers are also sought, says Moore.

“The West Plains Welcome Center is taking numbers of both volunteers, so people who  want to come in to West Plains or want to help, maybe with a church group or nonprofit. So taking phone calls and getting a list of people who want to volunteer. And also taking names of people needing volunteers.”

The Welcome Center phone number is 417-256-8835.