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Corps: Flood Threat Moderate…Unless It Rains A Whole Lot

Brett Blume/Dan Warner
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6/16/11-Col. Tom O'Hara with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlines the latest numbers regarding the threat of flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers during a press conference at the Robert A. Young federal building. (KMOX/Dan Warner)

6/16/11-Col. Tom O’Hara with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers outlines the latest numbers regarding the threat of flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers during a press conference at the Robert A. Young federal building. (KMOX/Dan Warner)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -Local experts continue to offer assurances the looming Missouri River flood will not be a repeat of 1993…while leaving open the possibility that major flooding could still occur.

During their latest briefing with reporters Thursday morning, officials with the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service pointed out that current models for rainfall and up-river dam releases continue to show little cause for alarm in the lower Missouri River basin.

“Based on what we currently know the levee systems within the St. Louis district are not at risk of overtopping,” said Colonel Tom O’Hara.

But in his very next breath, Col. O’Hara added, “That could change based on additional rainfall.”

And what’s more, he said, the threat of severe flooding won’t go away next week or even next month — at any point this summer several consecutive days of heavy rain could push the Missouri out of its banks.

browning1 Corps: Flood Threat Moderate...Unless It Rains A Whole Lot

National Weather Service meteorologist Wes Browning (KMOX/Brett Blume)

“So vigilance is the watchword,” said Wes Browning, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring.

Browning said record-breaking releases from reservoirs along the Missouri River alone won’t create major flooding in the St. Louis region.

That means it all depends on how much rain we get this summer.

“The good news is we don’t have any strong signals, climatologically, that we’re going to continue with much-above-normal rainfall,” Browning said. “We don’t have a strong signal for above-normal, or below-normal, rainfall. We’re going to have to watch it very carefully.”

So what’s the take-away message from the Corps and NWS?

“Provided we maintain average rainfall, we do not anticipate river elevations that will cause overtopping issues within the St. Louis district.”

 

 

 

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