MoDOT-St. Louis Asst. District Engineer Tom Blair said “The cresting of Meramec River is the light at the end of the tunnel”. If true, it’s been almost a week in the making. Missouri is now in its 6th day of heavy flooding, which started Saturday when up to 11 inches of rain fell in some areas in the southwest part of the state.
High water levels have subsided in that region, although rain persists while the second of two slow moving storms continues to roll through the southern and central portion of Missouri.
The Joplin area will see abundant sunshine Thursday, while a flash flood watch lingers through Friday at 7 a.m. in Springfield due to ongoing showers.
A flood warning is in effect all the way through Sunday in Jefferson City after the storms have left portions of central Missouri waterlogged.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to monitor Wappapello Lake in southeast Missouri’s Wayne County, where spill gate discharges have fallen after peak levels began to subside. But corps engineer Andrew Jefferson says continued rainfall could cloud the picture.
“If that (rain) continues to fall over the watershed, conditions are expected to quickly change” said Jefferson.
Many eyes, including those of some national TV viewers, are now focused on the St. Louis area, where rising levels on the Meramec River have finally crested.
Although water levels are beginning to recede at the critical flood locations of Eureka, Valley Park and Arnold, National Weather Service Meteorologist Charlie Kelly says ongoing precipitation continues to be an issue.
“With the rainfall we’re having here, it’s going to prolong the recession of the waters – the Meramec, the Mississippi and the Missouri” said Kelly. “But they are slowly but surely going to go down over the next couple of days.”
St. Louis County Emergency Management Director Mark Diedtrich has a similar observation to the weather service. Diedtrich said “The additional rainfall is not going to increase the levels of flooding. It may prolong them a little bit longer, but we don’t expect it to rise anymore.”
That said, the weather service reports peak water levels on the Mississippi River in the St. Louis regions won’t occur for another day or so. And I-44 and Highway 141 west of the city continue to be closed.
Some businesses are offering support for those affected by the flooding across the state.
Airbnb’s activated its Disaster Response Program to help displaced residents and emergency workers in southern, central and eastern Missouri find temporary accommodations with local Airbnb hosts, who are opening their homes free of charge.
And Anheuser-Busch has sent 150,000 cans of emergency canned drinking water to Red Cross Shelters and communities in St. Louis impacted by the floods and storms.
The Red Cross now has shelters open in Arnold, Branson, Poplar Bluff, Neosho, West Plains, Ballwin, Pacific, Van Buren, Gainesville and Marquand, with additional shelters on standby.
The organization says it’s been providing about 202 night stays at 10 shelters across the state.