The Corps of Engineers has closed about a 5-mile stretch of the Mississippi River at St. Louis due to high water levels. The Corps is barring River traffic from the McKinley Bridge to the Merchant’s Bridge.

The River at St. Louis has reached 40 feet, about the 5th or 6th largest flood in the city’s history and considered a once-in-twenty-five-years event. Engineering and Construction Chief Dave Busse says it could be pushed higher by rain later this week.

“The rainfall can always be less or more than what the National Weather Service is forecasting, but we see nothing now that would give us a view that we would be in a ’93-type situation.”

The River crested at 49.6 feet in the flood of 1993.

Upper Mississippi River Chief Ryan Christensen says the River isn’t just unsafe for barge traffic.

“As of right now we’re urging all people on the Illinois River, the Upper Mississippi River and the Missouri River … recreational traffic … to stay off the River. It is not a good time to be on the River. There are high currents, there is a lot of drifts, most of the boat ramps are probably underwater right now anyway, so if you’re thinking of recreational traffic please shift it off of the main Rivers.”

Busse says the River is also near record height at Cape Girardeau.

“We’re about the 10th highest, and the forecast from the National Weather Service would put us about the fifth highest, and still around a 50-year event. A major event, but nowhere near 1973 or 1993.”