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5 Mile Stretch of Mississippi River Closed Due to Flooding

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Its still about nine feet from the historic 1993 crest, but the United States Coast Guard has already begun safety measures along the Mississippi River.

The Coast Guard closed the river for about a five mile stretch Monday from the Mckinley Bridge to the Merchant’s Bridge (mile maker 179-184) due to high water levels.

The Coast Guard says the increased level of caution is to ensure the safety of railway systems near the river’s edge.

At a press conference Monday afternoon Dave Busse with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the Mississippi River at St. Louis is about 40 feet. It’s predicted to stay at that level until Tuesday when it crests. Busse adds, “that would be about the fifth or sixth largest flood in the history of St. Louis.”

City Streets crews have closed 23 of 30 flood gates and will close more as needed. The Flood Protection System is certified to 50 feet by FEMA.

In the Great Flood of 1993 the Mississippi River crested at 49.6 feet in St. Louis.

Related Article:
Mississippi River Towns Brace for Major Flooding

While levees near downtown St. Louis are holding strong two levees in far northern St. Louis County have been overtopped.

Mike Petersen with the St. Louis office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tells KMOX News the Kuhs and Columbia Bottoms levees are both located near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

“These are both pretty small levees with a low level of protection,” according to Petersen. “There’s nobody behind the Kuhs levee district, and the neighboring Columbia Bottoms protects a total number of about twenty people, I believe.”

Petersen still felt it important to stress that this wasn’t a breach, which would suggest that the levees themselves had failed.

“This is an overtopping,” Peterson said. “The river basically got higher than those levees are designed to handle.”

He added that the levees primarily protect agricultural and conservation management lands.

The overtopping occurred early Sunday.

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