ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Flood watchers in northern Missouri are checking levees, gathering sandbags and keeping close tabs on weather forecasts as the already high Mississippi River verges on potentially significant flooding.
The river has been above technical flood stage for weeks in northern Missouri. National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said Tuesday that moderate flooding is predicted in towns like Hannibal, Clarksville and Winfield.
Fuchs says it could get worse. Heavy rain is predicted Thursday through Sunday in Missouri, but also in states to the north. That creates the potential for additional runoff that could cause the river to rise even higher, perhaps to what the Weather Service considers major levels.
Fuchs says that’s a little scary for the Mississippi river saying a lot of water is going to be feeding down into the middle part of the Mississippi in the next week and a half.
Heavy precipitation last fall, combined with significant snow melt in northern states this winter, have kept the river higher than normal for months. And that has emergency managers worried about what a wet week might bring.
The Weather Service is predicting a crest of 22.6 feet in Hannibal over the weekend __ 6.6 feet above flood stage. But that doesn’t account for rain later this week.
Hark believes rain could push the river to it’s sixth-highest flood on record.
Strong storms hit parts of Missouri on Tuesday. Fuchs said heavy rain is expected to arrive again Thursday, with several periods of
showers likely through Sunday.
Southern Missouri is expected to get the worst of the Thursday-Sunday rain __ perhaps several inches __ which would spare most of the Mississippi River valley. But hydrologists are watching tributaries in Missouri like the Big River and Meramec River, which tend to rise much more quickly than the Mississippi or the Missouri.
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