Missouri River expected to hit just over 23 feet in JC

A quickly rising Missouri River is expected to crest just above “flood stage” in Jefferson City.

Hydrologist Mark Fuchs with the National Weather Service in St. Louis said they are looking for the river to crest in Jefferson City around 23.4 feet sometime Sunday morning.

Fuchs said this was an abrupt about-face to where we were just a week ago.

“The river went up around the time of last week’s severe weather outbreak on April 10,” he said. “Wednesday night’s and Thursday morning’s storms were not as huge an event for Jefferson City as it was for part of northern and eastern Missouri as well as central Illinois where some places had as much as 5 inches of rain. However, it was enough to increase the flow into the Missouri (River).

“We haven’t had something like this since 2011 when we were under the gun, but only got minor flooding,” Fuchs added. “That was back when the reservoirs on the upper Missouri (River) had to have major discharges after heavy snows and rains hit that area.”

Unlike 2011, Fuchs said, the upper levels on the river are not looking to get heavy rains or snows in the near future.

“The river should go down fairly quickly,” he said. “This was a rainfall-driven event, and Jefferson City should be below flood stage by Tuesday.”

What do flood levels mean?

The flood stage in Jefferson City is 23 feet, but levees in the area hold water to about 30 feet.

Based on previous experiences, the areas affected by flooding and the levels at which flooding occurs include:

• The state’s parking lot at Missouri Boulevard and West Main Street, and the YMCA’s 179 Soccer Fields begin to flood when the river reaches 26 feet, 3 feet above flood stage.

• The Capital View Levee that protects North Jefferson City is topped at 30 feet — 7 feet above flood stage — and Memorial Airport begins to flood at 30.1 feet.

• Parking lots for Capitol Plaza Hotel, old Health Lab (West McCarty and Broadway), Jefferson City’s Broadway Parking Lot, Broadway and Miller streets just south of the Expressway (by Zesto), Washington Park baseball fields and low-lying homes on Geneva Street all begin flooding at 32 feet.

• Main Street, west of the Capitol, floods at 34 feet.

• Both lanes of U.S. 63, north of Jefferson City, begin to flood at 34.1 feet.

• U.S. 54 in Callaway County floods at 37 feet.

Online:

River stages, forecasts from the National Weather Service

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