ST. LOUIS (AP)  – Residents of the southeast Missouri town of Caruthersville braced Thursday for a flood crest expected to have the Mississippi River lapping at the top of the floodwall.

Even as most rivers were finally starting to recede in the flood-ravaged area, the worst was still expected to come in the
town of 6,700 roughly halfway between St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn.

Members of the Missouri National Guard were taking no chances, building not only a wall of sandbags to catch overflow if the wall is topped but a series of earthen berms behind the sandbags.

“The berms will reinforce protection of the city by trapping the water after it crests over the sea wall,” National Guard Staff Sgt. Steven Anderson, who is helping coordinate the effort, said.

The river topped the previous record crest of 46 feet — set in 1937 — on Wednesday, and stood at 47.2 feet by Thursday afternoon.

It is expected to reach 49.5 feet on Sunday, a half-foot below the top of the floodwall.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press


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