ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Some are getting ready, but many are not, as the National Weather Service is warning there could be serious flooding along the Missouri River here by next week.
Depending on how much rain falls up north, the Missouri River could crest here between three-to-fifteen feet above flood stage, according to meteorologist Jason Goesslin.
The Missouri River rolls past Chesterfield Valley, a flood plain that has been developed with millions of dollars of office parks, movie houses and retail centers since it went underwater in the flood of ’93.
Protected by a new levee the Army Corps of Engineers says is ready to handle what’s coming, Chesterfield Valley was bustling with delivery trucks, office workers and bicyclists Wednesday — with no one voicing concerns about flooding.
“I haven’t heard anything about a flood,” said resident Mike Wilson, who lives just 200 yards from the Monarch levee on Eatherton Road. “I wish we had been notified by the county or somebody ahead of time, because we’ve got a lot of stuff in our house.”
But even those aware of the warning weren’t carrying out sofas. Norman Rombach, who owns the landmark Rombach Farm famous for its fall pumpkin patch, has faith in the levee.
“That levee is about five-feet higher than in ’93 and about a 100-foot wider,” Rombach said, “So, I’m pretty confident.”
Upriver, near the Blanchette Bridge, a row of half a dozen small frame houses sit within a stone’s throw of the Missouri River — with no levee to protect them. Don Redman was watching the water rise in his back yard, while he hurried to pack things to move into storage.
“Now, the ’93 flood, it went a couple of inches inside the house,” Redman said.
Redman was asked if he’s worried about reports that the flood could be worse than ’93, if a dam breaks upriver.
“Yeah, we are,” he said.
Six dams control the flow of water from Missouri River reservoirs, and experts disagree whether they can handle the strain.
There was no sign of strain in downtown St. Charles. On the riverfront, a municipal worker on a riding lawnmower cut the grass — grass that could be underwater next week. And a woman reading a book at a picnic table suggested no impending calamity. No one was sandbagging to protect gift shops along main street.
One business that was three-feet underwater in the flood of ’93 sits right beside a levee north of town. Jack’s Auto Salvage was busy Wednesday, but not with plans to fight a possible flood.
“We don’t really think about it,” said worker Don Carr, “We’re too busy trying to make a living. If it happens, we’ll go from there.”