Southern Missouri Counties Recuperating After August Flooding

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ST. ELIZABETH - Temperatures across mid-Missouri climbed into the middle 90s Thursday as part of a recent heat wave that hit the week of August 26. While temperatures are expected to peak Friday and Saturday, much of southern Missouri is still recuperating from recent flooding.

Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon asked the federal government to issue a major disaster declaration for 22 counties hit hardest by August's floods. Two weeks of heavy rains in early August resulted in widespread damage across southern Missouri. Nixon said the costs of emergency response and repairs from those rains will be high.

In Miller County, it's impacted the small town of St. Elizabeth.

"In this area we had quite a bit of flooding and the school is not spared. If you were a building you were affected some how by the rains," St. Elizabeth R-IV Superintendent Toni W. Taylor said.

At this school, the roof is failing and when the rains came, they poured through the roof over the gym, damaging parts of the hardwood floor and the bleachers. Several rooms inside the school also flooded. In one classroom, the entire floor had to be replaced.

Taylor said most of the repairs were covered by the school's insurance. As for the roof, that will cost the school somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000. The district will dip into reserve funds to pay for the roof. The district is in the process of getting an engineer to assess the damage to the roof. The next step will be to replace it.

Taylor said without the community of St. Elizabeth, the schools would not have been ready in time for classes to resume for the fall.

"There were people whose homes were possibly damaged, they stopped what they were doing. Our teachers stopped working in the classrooms and we went downstairs and started moving computers and furniture, wet, it was miserable," Taylor said.

She said when the floods came it was very apparent the school building belonged to the entire community.

"That is what makes a community a part of the school and the school a part of the community is that you just help each other like a family," Taylor said.

The floods haven't kept the district from moving forward with the school year. The gym will be used for the annual National Honor Society induction ceremony Thursday.