Flood-prone parts of the capital city have been evacuated as Missouri River flood levels will reach more than 32 feet over the weekend.
Britt Smith, City of Jefferson Operations Director, says a concern is a possible levee breach in the north side of the city.
“Whenever you have that much water against that levee, there is a potential, no matter how strong that levee is, that there could be a weak spot or failure point and that can happen at any time, but we don’t know that it ever will,” Smith says.
The areas affected were devastated in the flood of 1993 and were designated for evacuation by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. The city airport and nearby industries are being evacuated. Games at the recreational fields in that area were canceled, along with the annual Salute to Veterans airshow, a Memorial Day tradition in the capital city.
Smith says traffic coming and going to Jefferson City via highways 63 and 54 should be fine for now. But highway 94 could have some flooding.
Smith warns that this is still a changing situation, with more rain and flash flooding. He says that if people are anywhere close to areas that have flooded in the past to be aware of their surroundings.
The river cities of Boonville, Hermann and Washington are also in the path of major flooding.
Smith says the best way to check for conditions is the MoDOT Traveler Information Map
Jefferson City Mayor’s Office released the following safety warnings:
Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in cars swept downstream. Many of these drownings are preventable. Never drive around the barriers blocking a flooded road. The road may have collapsed under that water. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away most cars and just 2 feet of rushing water can carry away SUVs and trucks. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters.