St. Louis Public Radio News
5:10 pm
Mon February 22, 2010

Flood risk high along area rivers this spring

St. Louis – A wet October and a snowy winter could mean serious flooding in the St. Louis region.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service in St. Louis say there is a high probability that the Mississippi and Missouri rivers will flood this spring. Ground saturated by record rainfall in October did not have time to dry out before the winter, said service hydrologist Mark Fuchs, and there's a heavy snowpack in states at the head of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

Floods are nearly certain with average rain, Fuchs said. "If we have a big event somewhere along the upper Mississippi or in the Missouri basin, we could end up with more significant flooding than that," he said. "We're seeing numbers that not only exceed what we saw in 2008, we're also seeing numbers that are indicating moderate or greater flooding likely at all points from eastern Iowa down through northeast Missouri and west central Illinois."

Fuchs said long-term drought conditions studies show the ground is wetter this year than in 1993, when record floods barreled through the St. Louis region.