The Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis says Missouri’s lakes and rivers are dropping, but cautions that many of the state’s waterways are still dangerous to navigate.
The Mississippi River is still about three feet above flood stage at St. Louis, about six feet above flood stage at Hannibal, and about 11 feet over flood stage at Cape Girardeau. View the latest measurements HERE.
Ryan Christianson with the U.S. Coast Guard says the river has opened back up to commercial traffic, but asks everyone else to stay away. He says they try to keep recreational traffic off the river unless is at 25 feet or less. Right now it’s at 35.
Recreational boaters who want to get their boats on the water to look to the state lakes the Corps operates, which are all open and safe. That includes Shelbyville, Carlyse, Rend, Wappapello and Mark Twain lakes.
Corps Chief of Engineering and Construction Dave Busse was asked whether continued heavy rain would bring about another flood like 1993. He says it is possible, but he doesn’t think it’s going to happen. He says whereas in 1993, the rain just never let up long enough to let the rivers fall, it doesn’t look like that’s in our forecast this time around. Busse says some levees were overtopped in this most recent flooding, but that he’s pleased overall with how well they held up.
“There are no perfect levees … they all have issues,” he says. “I had no concerns when we were at 40 feet … we believe we could get up to 54 feet … four feet higher than in 1993. There’s nothing to tell us that we couldn’t hold another 93 event.”
He says in St. Louis, the levees and urban protection walls and gates are in better shape than they were in 1993.
Busse says this year’s flooding follows a 25-year cycle. He says a 100-year event is at 46 feet, a 500-year event is at 50.5, and the events that just occurred are well below the 100-year mark.
“We’ve only had one 100-year event since we’ve been collecting data,” he says.
Only one bridge, at Louisiana, Mo., and a couple of locks are closed. The Corps says all of them are expected to be open very soon.
AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:12)