NewsLocal News


Craig residents seek refuge in neighboring town after evacuation

Posted at 7:03 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 14:08:18-04

CRAIG, Mo. — Floodwaters continue to rage into northwest Missouri, swamping fields and flooding houses. On Wednesday, the town of Craig, Missouri, evacuated residents after a levee breach.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol had six Water Patrol troopers in the Craig area overnight to conduct water rescues. On Thursday morning, the Highway Patrol said troopers rescued four people from homes and three from a boat that ran out of fuel.

“It’s just devastating,” said Laura Mutchlar, a lifelong Craig resident whose family had to escape the town as the water rushed in Tuesday night.

“It was running underneath my house then, and it’s probably in it by now," Mutchlar said.

Her family sought refuge at the First Christian Church in nearby Mound City, Missouri. Right now, the church is their makeshift home.

The church is acting as an emergency shelter, accepting community donations from diapers to food.

“I’m so thankful to the church for letting us be here,” Mutchlar said. “I had to find someplace to go with my kids, and I had to get as much of my belongings as in my attic as I could.”

Mutchlar doesn’t know what she will return to when she makes it back home, but for now, she's glad her family is safe.

“We’re all in it together. We’ve got to come back out of it," she said. "We did in (1993) and we’ll make it again."

Jamie Barnes, a chopper pilot and realtor with Barnes Realty, went to school in Craig. He surveyed the damage in a flight over Holt County.

Video courtesy of Jamie Barnes/Barnes Realty:

"Every time there’s a levee that breaches, it carries out a whole bunch of sand onto the next farm. It just makes a heck of a mess," Barnes said.

Travis Kent, another Craig resident, took his boat into town to help move items in his mother's house to higher ground.

"It’s a shame. It’s a small community, it’s a farming community, it’s declining and I’m just afraid that it might...I hope they can recover," Kent said. "I don’t know if they’ll recover from this or not. It's devastating."

Some who have evacuated Craig are optimistic about what's next.

"Wait until it goes down, and if there’s anything left out there at the farm I’ll go back and rebuild fences," said Doug Livengood, who owns farm land in Craig. "You just take it all in stride and don’t let it get you down and go on."

It’s unclear when the people who live in Craig will be able to return. All roads leading into town remain closed.

In Atchison, Kansas, officials continued to monitor water levels on Wednesday. They were anticipating the Missouri River to crest about 31 feet into Thursday morning.

The high water is becoming a spectator sport for nearby residents.

“It’s coming up like the other ones did, slow,” Atchison resident Frank Schlereth said.