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Archive for Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Waterlogged levee under pressure

June 25, 2008

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— The weakest spot left along the swollen Mississippi River may be the Pin Oak levee, a barrier so tenuous that soil slides down its slope.

Only National Guard soldiers and firefighters in life vests are allowed to stack sandbags because volunteers and heavy equipment could sink. A single muskrat recently created a geyser of riverwater by digging into the berm.

But the earthen levee is all that's still protecting 100 houses, a city park, several businesses and 3,000 acres of agricultural land in east Winfield, Mo., one of the last towns where the upper Mississippi was expected to crest.

The Mississippi was expected to finally crest at Winfield sometime late today, and to flow at its high-water mark - more than 11 feet above flood stage - for several more days.

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