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.
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.”