ANDERSON, Mo. Several people gathered at the water’s edge Sunday afternoon, just off the banks of Indian Creek in Anderson. The view was staggering and shocking.
A neighborhood that lines the banks of the usually scenic view was severely flooded, the top of a propane tank just peaking out the top of the rapidly flowing water.
A lady who came to check on a friend’s house motioned to the light brown house up the stream. She said her friends were anticipating a sale of their house. They had money in escrow and looked forward to selling it.
Now, only the top half of the house could be seen. The rest was submerged in floodwater.
“I don’t know what they’ll do now,” she said. “I don’t know if the people will buy the house. Would you want to buy a house that you knew flooded?”
The neighborhood can be accessed in Anderson from a road that is located across from Harp’s.
From that viewpoint, all the houses looked flooded. Raging floodwaters had picked up and moved a small shed that had floated downstream several hundred yards before staying put, at an angle and crooked, the passerby said.
“That shed belongs up there,” she said, motioning up the creek to the house for sale.
The Springfield office of the National Weather Service reported that areas in McDonald County on Sunday morning received between 4 and 6 inches of rain, prompting a flash flood emergency.
Emergency crews across McDonald County responded to a number of calls.
As Monday morning trickled into afternoon, residents began to survey the damage as water levels receded. City employees were hard at work with repairs and debris removal and homeowners could be seen sorting and disposing of water-damaged items.
Brandon Barrett with the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office said the water rose so rapidly on Sunday that it created a wall of water, taking down anything in its path.
Floodwaters removed large pieces of pavement throughout town, turned soil to sinkholes, downed power lines, broke water mains, damaged structures and washed one home off the foundation.
At the intersection of Jon Road and Wallain Court, near Beaver Branch, what was left of the home could be seen — the concrete basement and surrounding foundation. Bits and pieces of the structure and its furnishings were strewn downstream for hundreds of yards.
The homeowners were in the process of evacuating the home when it was washed away. Linda Kuykendall did not evacuate in time. Search and rescue teams continued to search for Kuykendall into Monday evening.
Travis Thornton lives next door to the property and experienced the flash flood first-hand. Thornton said he was awoken on Sunday morning by the sound of gushing water growing closer. He looked out a window facing the stream and saw that the water had nearly reached the back of his home. Thornton quickly gathered his birth certificate, social security card and other important documents and prepared to relocate to higher ground.
“When I went to leave, I opened the front door and water started pouring in,” he said. He estimates 35 minutes passed between the time he awoke and the time he left.
Water lines around his home reached halfway up his front door.
“This isn’t my first flood, but I’ve never seen it like this,” Thornton stated.
According to data from the National Weather Service, Indian Creek near Lanagan (south of Anderson) crested at 16.19 feet around 6 p.m. on Sunday. The highest water level at this site was recorded at 16.66 feet on April 29, 2017.