MOKANE — Twenty-eight years ago, Chad Booher found himself paddling through the streets of Mokane.
Booher knew there was a stop sign at the intersection of Fulton Avenue and Missouri 94, but all he could see was deep water — the road sign was completely submerged, below the boat.
Every so often, the Missouri River breaks its banks and the normally dry streets of Mokane are covered in floodwaters.
Up until now, the story of flooding in Mokane was told by the faint water lines marking downtown walls. On Saturday, Mokane residents gathered to view a new sign provided by the U.S. Corps of Engineers marking the historic flood.
The city and Mokane Lions Club plan on constructing a stone base and placing the sign beside the historic Mokane Jail in Lions Club Park. Once up, visitors will be able to read about how the river engulfed the community for six weeks.
Booher remembers videotaping the journey downhill toward the river in Mokane and Steedman.
"As you drive down the hill and that video camera comes and looks down, it looks like you're ocean-front," Booher said.
Remembering the 1993 flood brought up more recent memories of the 2019 flooding. Two years ago, waters didn't rise as high, but the prolonged ebb and flow over the course of months caused considerable damage to Mokane City Hall and other parts of town.
"The bad thing about 2019 is it would come in and start to recede, and another levee would break and it would come up higher," Booher said. "It just went back and forth. It caused a lot of damage."
Mayor Jo Belmont wasn't living in Mokane in 1993, but she's experienced floods in the town since.
"When it goes down and you drive to work, you can see where the debris is so far above the car," Belmont said.
Belmont noted that while floods are negative, the sign also acknowledges the resiliency of the community to make it through rising waters.
"Probably the major component of all the floods we've had is the community coming together to sandbag and clean up after," Booher said. "Although they're a disaster, they also bring a lot of the community in."
Booher is a member of the Mokane Board of Aldermen and has worked to help the community recover from the 2019 flood. Belmont praised his work, as well as that of other board members and Tracy and Dennis Hoffman.
"This group that we have — the aldermen, the city clerk, Dennis the maintenance guy — they care about Mokane," Belmont said.