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Governor: Floods affected 7,100 Missouri homes, businesses

Governor: Floods affected 7,100 Missouri homes, businesses

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Cleanup continues as the Meramec continues to drop

Debris clings to a chain link fence in front of 84 Lumber on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in southwest St. Louis county, after water levels from the flooded Meramec River went down. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY • Historic flooding over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays affected an estimated 7,100 structures across the St. Louis region, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday.

In what is the first announcement of how many homes and businesses were damaged in the flooding, Nixon laid out a tentative recovery plan designed to get debris out of water-logged communities in the coming weeks.

According to early estimates provided to the governor, as much as 500,000 tons of debris will need to be removed from areas of Franklin, St. Charles, St. Louis and Jefferson counties.

“This was an historic flood and a full recovery will not happen overnight,” Nixon told reporters at a press conference in his Capitol office.

Heading up recovery efforts will be the Missouri National Guard. The governor activated the guard last week as flood waters began rising on the Meramec, Bourbeuse and Mississippi rivers.

Nixon earlier said the National Guard is experienced in clearing debris since it led the state’s effort in the expedited debris removal program that assisted the recovery of the Joplin area after the 2011 EF-5 tornado there. 

The U.S, Army Corps of Engineers has been asked to help facilitate the collection and disposal of both debris left behind by flood water and household debris, including construction materials, carpeting, furniture and appliances.

Nixon is scheduled to be at Jefferson Barracks Wednesday for a briefing that could include a schedule for curbside debris pick-up.

Damage assessments that could show the cost of the flooding are underway.

“As we move from emergency response to recovery, there is still much work to be done,” Nixon said.

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