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'Please stay away': Lincoln County officials want 'flood tourism' to stop as residents evacuate

Officials in Lincoln County are asking people to stop coming to heavily flooded areas to take pictures.

FOLEY, Mo. — The severe storms that rolled through the St. Louis area Saturday night caused another levee to breach in Lincoln County.

Winfield-Foley Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Lee said a lot of rainwater and debris pushed up against the Pin Oak levee wall, causing it to breach Sunday afternoon.

Another unusual sight is being seen as water rushes into Winfield and Foley: people coming to see the high flood waters and taking pictures. Emergency Management officials are calling it “flooding tourism.”

But officials are urging “flood tourists” to stop. 

Foley resident April Kuhlman is a single parent, a Navy veteran, and now a flooding victim.

"You have people coming down and getting in the way who don’t even live in the town, and you’re just trying to move, and they are in the way,” an emotional Kuhlman said. “When [first responders] tell you, ‘don't go there, please stay away,' it's hard. It's very difficult for us."

WATCH: Mississippi River breaches Pin Oak levee in Winfield

Foley is seeing the second highest crest since 1993, and families are doing everything they can to stay afloat.

"To try and move everything out with the little one, it's not an easy thing to do and move your life out of a house that you finally got. It's not easy," Kuhlman said. 

It was a busy Sunday afternoon as residents struggled to move out. The Winfield-Foley Fire Protection District was assisting anyone evacuating the area.

Also see | Kimmswick adds on to their levee as new crest projections rise

"Two boats in the water with firefighters in the boats. We're going off checking each address north to south, west of Foley," Lee said. 

Homeowners said they are exhausted after a month of flood waters. But their motivation is the strength of their small town. 

"Honestly, each other is what keeps us going besides knowing that I have to do this for my son and we have to keep going," Kuhlman told 5 On Your Side. 

If you are displaced, there is a shelter available 24/7 at Winfield High School headed by American Red Cross.

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