December 31, 2015
VALLEY PARK, Mo. (CNS) — At about 8:30 on a chilly morning Dec. 30, Mickey Downing of the Valley Park Fire District went house to house in lower Valley Park, knocked on doors and asked people to evacuate for their safety with the Meramec River nearing the top of the levee protecting the small town.
The levee gate was built to withstand a crest of 42 feet and 6 inches, a foot lower than the Army Corps of Engineers predicted crest of 43 feet and 6 inches between midnight of that day and 6 a.m. Dec. 31. The levee itself could withstand a 44-foot crest. The record crest was 39, set in 1982.
Most of Downing’s knocks in the community 20 miles southwest of St. Louis went unanswered, which was good news — residents already had sought higher ground. Most of the few who answered were packed and ready to leave. A few diehards were staying behind, hoping to stay dry.