Twenty years ago Monday, the community of Excelsior Springs was very nearly washed away by a flash flood that was the culmination of a spring and summer filled with heavy rains, millions of gallons of water flowing downstream from north and northwest of Missouri and news of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers—not to mention their many tributaries—overflowing their banks and devastating cities, towns and farms for miles around.
Being some distance from big rivers, Excelsior Springs escaped much of the flooding that put nearby communities like Orrick and Missouri City underwater. But on Aug. 12, the floodwaters rushed into our community, giving us the biggest flood many younger local residents had ever seen.
The Hall of Waters became literally that—floodwaters filled not just the swimming pool area, but went up past the balcony. A few blocks away, an auto dealership’s parking lot began eroding due to the flood-sodden ground, taking cars with it into the Fishing River.
In some areas along the river’s bank, houses were underwater; most have since been razed and the land has just become green space for the community. And even those who lived away from the downtown area were affected, as a boil order was in place for a number of days while the mess was cleaned up.
Some readers have shared recollections through our Facebook page.
“I remember kids swimming in Piburn Field the morning after,” remembered Lisa and Tim Shroyer.
Bill Bennett said he was serving in the National Guard and was on duty that year in many flood ravaged areas—and he saw a lot of unbelievable things.
“I remember watching our car float away in that flood,” added Missy Ayers. “Couldn’t do anything about it but just watch it go!”
Like the recovery from the flood 20 years ago, this story will be ongoing over the next few weeks.
If you’ve got memories to share, call 816-637-6155, email your recollections to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/Excelsior SpringsStandard.
By Standard Staff • StandardStaff@leaderpress.com