July 5, 2015

Flood Gates on Missouri’s Bagnell Dam opened (VIDEO)

Eleven of the 12 floodgates at Bagnell Dam on The Lake of the Ozarks are open. The Lake’s owner, Ameren Missouri, is trying to ease its levels after three inches of rain fell Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Bagnell Dam 1 07-01-2015

Ameren Missouri has opened 11 of 12 flood gates on Bagnell Dam to lower the level of the Lake of the Ozarks. (Photo credit, Shawn Kober, BigPlanetMedia.com)

The Lake has been near capacity since before Memorial Day Weekend. Engineer Alan Sullivan said those gates were opened at 10 percent.

“The Lake of the Ozarks has risen from 659.19 at midnight to 660.5 at 10 a.m. The rain continues and the Lake continues to rise,” Sullivan said. “We’ve increased plant discharge to our maximum turbine capacity … and at the same time requested Truman Dam to shut down completely.”

The National Weather Service is predicting more heavy rain tonight, with two- to four inches of rain possible in parts of central and southern Missouri.

Sullivan says floodgates on the Bagnell Dam will be left open as long as possible to stabilize the level of the Lake.

J.T. Gerlt, KTKS, and Shawn Kober, BigPlanetMedia.com, contributed to this story.

Weather Service confirms three tornadoes Sunday, more reported

The National Weather Service has confirmed that at least three tornadoes touched down in east-central Missouri, Sunday.

This funnel was spotted southwest of New Bloomfield, Sunday night.  (courtesy; Facebook)

This funnel was spotted southwest of New Bloomfield, Sunday night. (courtesy; Facebook)

The strongest of the three was rated an EF-2 and touched down northwest of St. Peters about 8:04. Its winds are estimated to have reached up to 122 miles per hour. Over about five minutes it took part of the roof off of one home and damaged others, destroyed some outbuildings and snapped trees and power poles in a damage path up to 400 yards wide and about 2.26 miles long.

Tornadoes west and northwest of Eolia snapped tree limbs and other minor damage, and were rated EF-1 and EF-0, with winds estimated up to 100 and 80 miles per hour, respectively. Those touched down at about 6:23 and 6:34 Sunday night.

There were numerous reports of funnels in central Missouri near the Callaway Nuclear Reactor and New Bloomfield. At least one is reported to have touched down and blown a vehicle around on a highway. The Weather Service is asking anyone who knows of damage to contact it.

Missouri Governor declares state of emergency for flooding, rains

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in response to heavy rain and flooding, with more expected as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill pass through the state through tomorrow.

Photos of flooding 4 miles west of Ava, Missouri (Debbie Wray, Twitter)

Photos of flooding 4 miles west of Ava, Missouri (Debbie Wray, Twitter)

The declaration means state emergency management personnel and the Highway Patrol will assist local communities in flood response.

Missouri has already seen the closure of many roads and some flash flooding, and agencies are warning that more could occur particularly on the state’s smaller rivers.

See the Governor’s order declaring a state of emergency

Earlier stories:

MODOT: With more rain coming avoid flooded Missouri roads

Remnants of Bill to cause flooding in Missouri

MODOT: with more rain coming, avoid flooded Missouri roads

Dozens of roads in Missouri are already closed due to flooding, and the Transportation Department is warning drivers more rain is on the way. Repeated rainfall has saturated much of Missouri and the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill will bring even more through Friday, especially in the southeastern two-thirds of Missouri.

The Transportation Department is warning drivers not to cross flooded roads.  (photo courtesy; National Weather Service)

The Transportation Department is warning drivers not to cross flooded roads. (photo courtesy; National Weather Service)

Department spokeswoman Linda Wilson Horn wants drivers in Missouri to avoid high water.

“The bottom line when there’s a flooded road is turn around, don’t drown,” Horn told Missourinet. “Do not drive through any kind of standing water or especially moving water. If a road is closed, please turn around and find an alternate route.”

Maintenance Engineer Becky Allmeroth says water over the road could be hiding pavement damage.

“If that water has been going over the road for a couple of hours or so it could have deteriorated the sub-base of the road. There might not even be a road there anymore,” said Allmeroth. “Even if you think it’s shallow, we’ve even seen a couple of inches of water where people are trying to drive through it and it will just flood out their car.”

Allmeroth says the advice against driving through water over the road doesn’t only apply to small cars.

“It really doesn’t. If you watch the news, especially the last couple of days, some of the water rescues that they’ve had to do, we’ve seen some pickup trucks that have been in those situations,” said Allmeroth.

The Department maintains an interactive map of road closings and asks those who know of a closing not on it to call law enforcement. Find that map here.

Remnants of Bill to cause flooding in Missouri

Major flooding is expected on some of the state’s smaller rivers in the next two days, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill hit Missouri.

Flooding along US 61 between Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary's near Eddie and Rick Lane (courtesy; National Weather Service)

Flooding along US 61 between Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary’s near Eddie and Rick Lane (courtesy; National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service is predicting what remains of Bill to reach southern Missouri around midnight Friday morning, and it could dump another three to give inches or rain on the southeastern two-thirds of Missouri.

“By the time this is done, we fully expect to see some locations in Missouri will receive 10-plus inches of rain by the time the week is done,” according to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jim Kramper.

The smaller rivers are the ones Kramper says the Weather Service is the most concerned about.

“The Meramec at Valley Park, the Illinois River at La Grange, the Black River, the Big River, potentially the Bourbeuse, the Gasconade, the Maries, the Moreau River … those smaller rivers are the ones that are going to react very, very quickly, especially once we do get that rainfall from Bill coming up here,” said Kramper.

The Missouri and Mississippi Rivers will remain in flood stages, but are only expected to reach what the Weather Service terms, “moderate,” flooding at most locations.

“The exception for the Mississippi will be … Chester, Illinois. It is expected to hit major flood level,” said Kramper.

The Mississippi River at Chester is expected to reach 41.9 feet. At 35 feet, U.S. Highway 61 in St. Genevieve County begins to flood.

“Anyone that’s living in low-lying, flood prone areas, living near creeks and streams, really needs to monitor the river forecast. Also anyone that travels regularly on roads that are along streams and creeks and low water crossings, they really need to monitor the situation in the next few days,” said meteorologist Gary Schmoecker.

“We already had one death last evening in Sullivan,” said Schmoecker. “Sometimes when you get heavy rain and flooding, people are aware usually where the low water crossings are but sometimes you get an event like this that produces some very unusual flooding … certain areas may have flooding that is very unusual that hasn’t happened before in many, many years.”

Kramper says the Weather Service will also be watching the remnants of Bill for possible severe weather.

“Tropical systems have a lot of rotation involved with them,” said Kramper. “If by chance the cloud shield weakens for a while during the day Friday, we get some sunshine popping up, that will get some thunderstorms popping up in those bands that we’ll see from Bill and that could lead to some small supercell storms that could have a lot of rotation.”