The U.S. Coast Guard has closed the Mississippi River at St. Louis indefinitely because of high water levels, fast moving currents and snow melt. According to a press release from the agency, the closure is between river mile markers 179 and 184.
The river is a major form of transportation for agricultural products all over the country, especially in Missouri.
In a press release from the U.S. Transportation Department, it says it is sending $2 million in emergency funding to Missouri to help repair roads and bridges heavily damaged by mid-March flooding.
Governor Mike Parson has asked President Donald Trump to approve a major federal disaster declaration for 13 northwest and southeast Missouri counties damaged by flooding. The governor expects the request to be expanded to include even more counties once floodwaters recede. Early estimates place damages to infrastructure plus emergency flooding response in Missouri $25 million. That does not include damages to agriculture.
The Missouri Farm Service Agency has held two days of meetings in northwest Missouri for farmers to hear from state and federal agencies that can help with flood relief and recovery.
American Rivers Director Olivia Dorothy, in East Moline, Illinois, says preliminary data from the Quad Cities shows the Flood of 2019 is worse than the Great Flood of 1993. She says the water is heading toward the section of the Mississippi that American Rivers designated among the most endangered rivers of 2019 because of poor flood risk management. She says areas in that 200 mile stretch that have raised their levees without approval put people and property at risk during extreme flooding.
Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News contributed to this story.