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Missouri officials prepare for potential flooding

Missouri officials prepare for potential flooding

March 16th, 2019 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

As Missouri River levels continue to rise, Gov. Mike Parson met with his emergency management team Friday to review and update flood-response plans.

The team met at the State Emergency Operations Center in Jefferson City, which was activated in response to expected historic flooding along some areas of the Missouri River.

Officials at the National Service in St. Louis said levels are expected to rise dramatically this weekend, with a 1.5-foot rise expected by today in some areas. As of Friday, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers reported the Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota was releasing 100,000 cubic feet of water per second due to rapid snow melt and heavy rainfall in areas of the plains along the Missouri.

“Northwest Missouri is already experiencing significant flooding that’s closing roads and impacting homeowners and farmers, and the situation will affect many more Missourians in the coming days,” Parson said in a news release.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is working with Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa on detour plans due to the rising floodwaters closing major roadways. Friday afternoon, I-29 at Rock Port was closed at the Missouri/Iowa border due to flooding in Iowa. Those wanting to use I-29 northbound should use I-35 and then I-80 into Iowa.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is preparing additional equipment and swift water rescue personnel are on standby.

The Missouri National Guard, as a precautionary measure, is temporarily relocating the 139th Airlift Wing’s C-130s from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph.

In Mid-Missouri, the weather service reported the Missouri River in Jefferson City had reached the flood stage of 23 feet Friday afternoon. The forecast called for the river to rise to 26 feet by this afternoon and stay at that level through Wednesday. The river was at 19 feet in Chamois on Friday afternoon and predicted to reach 22.5 feet by Tuesday afternoon. The flood stage there is 15 feet.

The Osage River near St. Thomas, Moreau River near Jefferson City and Maries River near Westphalia were all expected to stay well below flood levels while the Osage at the Mari Osa Delta is predicted to stay at 19 feet through Wednesday, which is at the minor flooding level.

“Right now, we’re just monitoring the situation,” Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr said. “Fortunately we don’t have many residences along the river that could be affected by high water.

“What we are really keeping an eye on is Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks,” he said. “Friday afternoon, we were told that Truman Dam, which is above Bagnell on the Osage, may have to start releasing more water. And if that happens, Bagnell would have to let out water which means the Osage will go up and that would cause the Missouri to rise more in our area. We just hope the current forecast of no rainfall for several days remains the same.”