Northwest students from both in and out of state are still feeling the effects of winter after historic flooding hit the midwest. In the aftermath many have stepped up to help those in need from donations, to rescue work and even offering shelter to displaced families.
The excess snow from the past winter has caused excessive flooding of the Missouri River in areas like St. Joseph, Missouri, and other cities next to highway I-29.
Highway I-29 was closed from the mile 57 marker until Highway I-80 in Nebraska. This has caused many issues for students trying to travel northbound, towards Iowa and other northern states, including junior Stephanie Andrews, who said she struggled to return home during spring break.
“It did not actually hit my house, but it mainly affected the road closures and my commute to and from,” Andrews said. “It made my dad really worry because I mainly take Highway I-29 up and I had to take the more convoluted route, so he was worried I would get stuck somewhere where I did not have any service.”
Andrews said her grandparents and others around them in Minnesota are more accustomed to the flooding.
“It is an annual thing for them,” Andrews said. “Meanwhile down here, the water has usually diminished by the point it reaches us. It has gone into the rivers and the undergrounds.”
Junior Moira Auxier and her family also faced troubles due to the flooding.
“My brother may work again on Monday,” Auxier said. “Elwood (Missouri) and part of the south side of St. Joe (Missouri) are under mandatory evacuations until further notice.”
However, Auxier also said that the flooding appeared worse than it really was in the Elwood, Missouri, area.
“Despite the visible amount of water, most of Elwood (Missouri) is not flooded,” Auxier said. “The evacuations are because officials are worried the levees are going to fail.”
Mozingo recently opened its RV area to be free to those in need. So far, they have had ten RVs show up to seek refuge from the flooding.
Some students and community members tried to help in areas that were flooded.
Jami Hull and the T-N-R for Maryville organization worked to help save animals in Craig, Missouri, March 23.
“We worked all day with John Stout of Tarkio (Missouri),” Hull said. “We rescued multiple chickens and two cats from a roof. The town was so saddening, little kids toys floating on by, dog houses floating, cars submerged.”
Hull said the water and weather made conditions dangerous for any animals stuck in the flood.
“The water was very, very dirty; you could smell the gasoline and see the oil,” Hull said. “The animals who were in the water were exposed to all of that as well. It was also very chilly that day, and we were in water that was about 30 degrees.”
Hull also said there are still teams out and about helping to rescue more animals.
“Right now, we are gathering more supplies for the rescue teams who are paying for gas, food, supplies, et cetera out of pocket, which adds up very quickly,” Hull said.
Senior Maddison Haynes said her family has been providing shelter and helping flooded areas.
“The flooding has really negatively impacted a lot of families and farms in the Midwest,” Haynes said. “My mom actually opened our house to a family friend who was affected by the flooding, and we have spent a lot of time in Valley, Nebraska, helping clean up areas that have been impacted. It is sad; people’s whole lives have essentially disappeared before their eyes.”
Freshman Elizabeth Cernin also provided aid to farmers and ranchers in her own way.
“I began selling small canvas paintings as well as hand burned wood coasters to donate money to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association as well as any farmer or rancher that the buyer directly wants to donate to,” Cernin said. “So far, I have gotten orders from Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Texas.”