Dutchtown Gearing Up for Flood

I was planning on getting out of town around noon Monday (which really means around 2 PM). I piddled around waiting for the rain to break so I could load the car and getting a couple of posts ahead on the blog so I could send updates from the motel room along the way.

By the time I got the car loaded, I still had to drop some stuff off in town, so I opted to leave early Tuesday morning. I’m glad I did because the weather was lousy from late afternoon through the evening.

Water’s almost up to Hwy 74

Someone posted on Facebook that Hwy 74 had water almost up to the road. That meant that our property in Dutchtown that I mentioned yesterday might be starting to flood. On the way down to check on it, a state trooper at a roadblock told us that they’re starting to build a levee across the road ahead, so we’d have to turn around.

We took the back way around through Jackson and down Hwy 25. Just as we were pulling into town, we noticed that several houses had tractor trailers backed up in the driveways. They were packing up.

Mother stayed in the car after I pulled into the lane leading to our spot. I walked back up to 74 to see the Fruitland Fire Department setting up a pump on the corner and having a hard time getting it started (more about that later).

Owners trying to fight the water

Most of the activity was around one house directly north of our land. Several of the neighbors had built a makeshift levee between us and them several years back. When Mark, Robin and I were there Sunday, we commented that it didn’t look like it had been maintained since the last flood.

We wondered if anybody would start getting excited once the water was visible in the fields.

Sandbag City

A raft of high school-age kids were filling sandbags and adding to the height of the barrier. I hope it does them some good. We don’t have anything left that the water can hurt much after the 1973 and 1993 floods, but I feel sorry for families who have something to lose.

Pardon my crankiness

On the way back to the car, I saw that the fire department had gotten the pump going.

I know that we’re going under water. I can’t blame the Diversion Channel, the Mississippi River or Mother Nature for that. I WAS a bit put out to see someone deliberately pumping water on us, though.

At least they’re trying. I wish ’em the best. I think Dutchtown is going to go the way of the Red Star District, Smelterville and Wittenberg. At some point, there will be one flood too many.

6 Replies to “Dutchtown Gearing Up for Flood”

  1. When I covered the flood of 2008, officials were calling the 14-inch rainfall a “100-year flood”–or even a “500-year flood.” Now, we’ve likely had that much rain again, and here we go! Don’t you wonder what’s happening with all the increased rainfall? Is Mother Nature on a rampage?
    Have a safe trip home, Ken–but you’re missing one heck of a photographic opportunity! Documenting the flood of 2011! I wish I had your skill and know-how. I do not feel adequate for the job!

    1. Wife Lila said the same thing about staying when we talked last night (she’s flying out of St. Louis this morning).

      I told her that if she had suggested that in the morning, I might have weakened and stayed.

      Onece I got everything broken down and packed in the car, I was ready to go.

      The other thing that happened is that I’ve lost my taste for disasters. I felt uncomfortable shooting the sandbaggers in Dutchtown.

      I got into the business because of an instinct for shooting spot news, but I found that it took a toll.

      When I started out, I thought a press card was bulletproof and that the camera presented a barrier between me and whatever tragedy I was covering.

      What I found, instead, was that the camera lens acted as a magnifying glass, burning those sights, sounds and emotions into a movie that would play at 2 in the morning.

      I’m not ready to see the sequel. Tragedy and Suffering Roman Numeral One was enough.

      One of me wants a piece of another Flood of the Century / Decade / Month; the other wants to put miles between me and it.

      Good luck. Stay safe covering it.

      Disasters are easy. The stories and pictures do themselves. And, when things get quiet at 2 in the morning, you always have the movie in your head to pass the time.

  2. I think that even if the legendary Hans Brinker were to walk by the small levee in Dutchtown on his way home, he would keep his finger dry this time around. Good luck to those folks on the dry side, but if the predictions are accurate I think they are in for a soggy run.

  3. I have been getting regular reports from my parents, Marge and Gordon Nunnelly who live between Dutchtown and Whitewater. They are on high ground but could barely get into Cape today to stock up. Their landline phone went out today so good thing we they have the cell phone, about their only nod to modern technology! I’m headed out in a few weeks through the disabled St. Louis airport. For now I am headed to Amsterdam where maybe I’ll run into the fella who put his finger in the dyke. . . now there’s a country that knows how to live with water! Best wishes to all during this challenging time in our beloved home town. Safe travels, Ken!

  4. Ken, if you left today, it sounds like you are heading into another round of storm fronts. Be careful. I understand losing one’s interest in being close to disasters or human suffering. I find myself even avoiding movies that feature human suffering. I dealt with enough of it professionally. There is plenty of pain that will come to any of us in our lives unbidden. Given the choice, I gravitate toward fun.

  5. hi there our family is moving to dutchtown soon i’m just messaging a few places after doing a fb search for the town name.We have inherited a house but have no pics nor money to travel to it from south TN. I doesn’t even show on google earth. Would love to find someone brave to also find out if it is haunted like I’ve heard from my family and also just check it out a little, please. No i’m not crazy, just cant afford to get there right now and maybe it might be our salvation for us if it ends up not being evil or needing to be condemned.FB ASKIVY or Ivy Tatum

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