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Evacuees Exhausted as Roubidoux Rises Again

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. -- The night the Roubidoux Creek broke it banks, neighbors went door to door to warn each other. On Thursday, the Waynesville Police Chief, whose station is just yards from the flooding, said the water would rise again -- up to four feet.
At least with the drought I wasn't homeless.

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. -- Waynesville evacuees back in their homes for less than 24 hours were forced to flee again with the threat of rising water.

The night the Roubidoux Creek broke it banks, neighbors went door to door to warn each other. On Thursday, the Waynesville Police Chief, whose station is just yards from the flooding, said the water would rise again -- up to four feet.

Evacuations began in areas that have already been affected, as well as areas around the Roubidoux Park, Pine Street and the area around the Waynesville Memorial Chapel.

"The river came up faster than it's every come," recalls Giselle Nightengale. At 3 a.m. Tuesday, she and her husband and son ran from their home on North Street. With the help of volunteers, they came to reclaim some of what is theirs from the waters. "The smell is horrible."

City leaders urged residents to take precautions quickly. Police officers moved home to home to warn residents. 

"The Chief of Police said that everybody on this road needs to get everything that they need, because the river is about to come up about another 4 feet," says Sue, a neighbor. "We were cleaning, but I guess that's at a standstill since we have to get out again."

Nightengale lost her heirlooms to the water that flooded North Street.

"I had my mom's cookbooks back from the World War II era. My parents have long since passed away. I forgot to pick those up and they're gone. Destroyed."

And an encyclopedia set where her father detailed his campaign in the second World War. 

"It was in his handwriting and stuff in the book and that's gone."

Volunteer Eric Harris was a total stranger until hours ago.
 
"Just makes you feel sad in the heart. All we can try to do is come together as a people and help the needy best as we can."

As the Nightengales scramble under the threat of rising water, you can see the exhaustion in their eyes. The water of the Roubidoux, their longtime neighbor, is eroding their spirits. 

"Getting tired of it. Somebody needs to call off the rain. It's discouraging. I know it was bad last summer with the drought, kind of makes you feel which is worse, you know. At least with the drought I wasn't homeless." 

Meanwhile, search crews continue a recovery effort for Jessica D. Lee, 23, who is missing and presumed drowned. Her son, 4-year-old Elyjah M. Lee, is the boy who died Tuesday when flood waters swept away the car he and his mother were riding in near Highway 17 and T.

Lee was able to call a relative (when then called 911) before the car was swept away from flood waters of Roubidoux and Mitchell creeks. The car was located late Tuesday, but her body was not inside.

"We've been looking since the moment we received the phone call," says Sheriff Ron Long (full interview above). "We've tried numerous different ways. We've been looking from air, on the ground, and yesterday we had 55-60 individuals -- law enforcement and civilians -- on foot, looking for her."

Waynesville received another heavy rainfall Thursday morning, which delayed the recovery efforts for a few hours.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first time the water had subsided to a point where we could go along these creeks and look in areas that were covered by water. Unfortunately we had 3-4 more inches of rain this morning, the creeks are rising. The rivers are going to rise, which will set us back maybe a day or two."

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