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Communities in Osage, Boone counties prepare for a rising Missouri River

Communities in Osage, Boone counties prepare for a rising Missouri River

May 22nd, 2019 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

In this April 30, 2019 photo, a sand barge operator turns to deliver a load on the Missouri River at Jefferson City.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

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With major flooding forecast along the Missouri River, Jefferson City was not the only community in Mid-Missouri making preparations Tuesday.

Osage County Sheriff Michael Bonhom said Chamois was preparing for the second-highest level of flooding since the Flood of 1993, but that "we don't believe it's going to be enough to get up in town."

The National Weather Service forecast Tuesday that the Missouri River near Chamois would reach 29.5 feet sometime Thursday, which would be a moderate flood.

"We do have pre-positioned assets," Bonham said of a boat and a large military vehicle.

"If need be, we can get to folks, even (if there's) water over the roads, to be able to help evacuate, if need be. We don't believe that's going to be the case, but of course, we're waiting on how much rainfall we're getting," he said.

He said Tuesday afternoon that no one was evacuating or being evacuated.

Bonham expected the Osage River to rise to a level of 30 feet within hours, and though that would put that river out of its banks, "We're not expecting a lot of trouble along the Osage. But the Missouri, definitely, we're looking at that potential (for flooding) there. Bonnots Mill definitely is going to flood."

The National Weather Service forecast Tuesday that the Osage River at the Mari-Osa campground would rise to 30 feet sometime between today and Thursday — a major flood at that location.

Bonham said Chamois had sand and sandbags available that had been stored for some time.

He added the mayor had sent out a message earlier to let residents know sand and sandbags were available.

Elise Brochu is the mayor of Chamois. Brochu did not respond to a voicemail from the News Tribune on Tuesday, but a message posted to the City of Chamois' Facebook page Tuesday afternoon "from the mayor" stated a Missouri River level of 29.5 feet would close Missouri 100 to Morrison, "and likely to the west as well." It said: "Water will have come over the A-1 levee between Chamois and Morrison."

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"We have sandbags and sand available behind the car wash if you need them. The sandbags were provided by the county and the sand was split between the city and the county, so the sand and sand bags are available for people outside city limits as well as city residents. I don't want to scare anyone, but I do want to make sure we're cautious and take whatever precautions are necessary," the message added.

Bonham added while Osage City is in Cole County, "we work with Sheriff (John) Wheeler. Last time we had the water come up very quickly, unexpectedly, we helped with the boat because Osage City kind of got cut off quick, and Engineer Island, which is just beyond that, we checked on the residents."

Bonham was not aware of any evacuations or sandbagging happening in Osage City.

He added his officers would "more than likely" check on residents today and get on the Missouri and Osage rivers.

Up the Missouri River in Boone County, Hartsburg Mayor Bill Molendorp said Tuesday that sand had been brought to two locations, along with 11,500 sandbags — and he was hoping to get more.

Molendorp said a Jefferson City area sand plant supplied the sand, and the bags came from Boone County Emergency Management.

"We've had a number of people call" to ask about volunteering to fill the sandbags, Molendorp said, and added more information would likely be put out Wednesday; "we put it off just a little bit to see what the weather's going to do the next 12 hours."

He added most of the farmers in the low-lying area near Hartsburg had moved their heavy equipment from their fields.

Minor flooding was forecasted Tuesday for some other river locations in Mid-Missouri: a crest of 23.3 feet on the Osage River near St. Thomas sometime today into Thursday; 20.5 feet on the Moreau River near Jefferson City today; and 21 feet on the Gasconade River near Rich Fountain sometime Thursday into Friday.

The Maries River at Westphalia was rising Tuesday, but there was no forecast available beyond Tuesday afternoon's level of 2.29 feet.

Weather resources:

Mid-Missouri forecast, radar

St. Louis National Weather Service watches, warnings via Twitter

Ameren's Truman and Bagnall Dam daily report

Eastern Missouri river stages

Western Missouri river stages

Missouri road closings

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This article was edited at10:15 a.m. May 22, 2019, to correct the spelling of Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham's name.