Flood waters pour into Messex; voluntary evacuations underway

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MESSEX, Colo. -- Voluntary evacuations are extending into the middle of the week in the small Eastern Plains town of Messex, which is dealing with a lot of flooding after a month’s worth of rain bloated the South Platte River.

All that rain battered down a 50-year-old levee about six miles away in Morgan County.

“There are places here where the river is a mile wide,” said Mike McCaleb, the emergency management director for Washington County. “That levee just isn’t designed to hold back that much water for that long a time."

There are only about 15 homes in Messex. Most of the town’s residents are ignoring the voluntary evacuations and staying put. McCaleb said nearly every home is dealing with basement flooding.

The South Platte normally runs at 500 cubic feet per second this time of year. It’s currently running at 13,000 cfs. During the September 2013 floods, it ran at 33,000 cubic feet per second.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is keeping a close eye on Messex until the river goes below flood stage. The National Weather Service estimates it will go down in another week or two.

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