Volunteers turn out to sandbag at OacomaOACOMA — Volunteers numbering “in the hundreds” turned out Wednesday to sandbag downtown areas and protect critical infrastructure in Oacoma.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
OACOMA — Volunteers numbering “in the hundreds” turned out Wednesday to sandbag downtown areas and protect critical infrastructure in Oacoma.
“We’re preparing for the worst but expecting the best,” said Oacoma City Finance Officer Val Moore, who was manning the phones at City Hall.
Moore said the sandbagging was precautionary after Corps of Engineer forecasts predicted water levels will be 2 feet higher in July than the highest water experienced in recent memory.
The corps predicts water elevations will be at 1,374 feet by July 22, she said, “which is two feet higher than the flooding we had in 1997.”
The area being sandbagged is south of Main Street. The area has 11 homes, two sewer lift stations, sewage lagoons and electrical transformers. Manholes in the area also were sealed and sandbagged.
The focus of volunteers Wednesday was to protect the lift stations, one of which serves the town and the other serving Cedar Shore Resort, as well as other infrastructure.
On Tuesday, recent rains raised water levels 1-2.5 feet higher than water elevations at the Fort Randall Dam, Moore said. Such water elevations have been common since the end of May, she said.
“Today, water elevations were at about 1,369 to 1,370 feet,” she said Wednesday, “and our goal is to sandbag to an elevation of 1,380 feet.”
That will make the sandbag dikes high enough to handle the wind-driven waves that are common along that broad section of the Missouri River, Moore said. It’s not uncommon for southerly winds to create waves 2-3 feet high, she said.
In practical terms, that means completed levees will be 4-6 feet high, depending on the lay of the land.
Spirits were high among volunteers and there was “no small quantity of food,” Moore said.
Al’s Oasis furnished lunch, she said, and church congregations and various individuals also provided the sustenance that powered the workers.