Clarksville community rolls up sleeves to meet the rising river

Local residents, volunteers and AmeriCorps members are building a sandbag wall at the Clarksville Riverfront in hopes to stop any flooding. The river is rising at a rapid pace and the community is asking for your help.

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 23

There's renewed flood concerns along the Mississippi River Tuesday morning.

The river crested over the weekend, but reached a second, higher crest Monday in some parts of the Tri-States.

The river is currently 10 feet above flood stage there. Monday's crest took water over the levees in Clarksville.

We talked with officials there Tuesday morning. They say AmeriCorps Volunteers and Missouri National Guardsmen are currently reinforcing the flood walls they have already built.

In the downtown area they're actually building a second wall behind the first to protect the town

"That wall is beginning to move and they are having to build another wall behind that wall to build it up to hold it, " said,Curt Mitchell Eastern Pike County, Missouri Commissioner.

Volunteers are also extending a flood wall down Washington street to keep rising water from going around the sandbag wall and into the downtown area.

Friday, April 19

Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley is scared of losing her city to the rising Mississippi.

"We've been told that if the post office floods again we lose it," she said. "Lacross Lumbar our biggest business in town, we've been told by that company that if they flood again they don't come back."

Clarksville's flood stage is 25 feet. The river is expected to rise to more than 35 feet.

Efforts to keep it from overflowing into the city have been on going since early Thursday morning. AmeriCorps St. Louis sent volunteers to help. (See KHQA This Morning's coverage with volunteers, here.)

"They energy is great," AmeriCorps volunteer, Tom Schweiss said. "We've had volunteers show up all through out the day and night. We've had volunteers show up at 2 o'clock in the morning and have been working with us ever since."

"There's something really ... camaraderie building ... about building a wall together," volunteer Jennifer Johnson said. "Just being ahead of this water coming up, you feel like you all just coming together for this one single purpose and it's really great, even though we don't know each other."

"Every person that comes here to work just seems to dive in without knowing exactly what they're going to have to do," Smiley said. "They see what is to be done and they take hold and do it."

Stopping the river from entering the city is especially important, financially.

"Unless that State somewhere is declared a disaster then it becomes incumbent upon us to fund it," Smiley said.

How much will that cost?

"We don't have an estimate because you don't know until it's all over," Smiley said. "You don't know what you're going to need until the time comes."

So for now, Smiley says her focus is to stop the flood before it can cause any damage.

"It's something you know in you head but in your heart you hope it doesn't happen," she said ."To our residents I just say 'keep the faith' because that's what we have to do. We are doing what we have to do to protect our town."

Governor Nixon recently activated the National Guard.

Members will arrive in Clarksville tomorrow morning but volunteers are still needed.

For more information on how you can help, click here.