St. Louis Public Radio News
3:48 am
Mon June 16, 2008

Floods continue to threaten Missouri and Illinois

SAINT LOUIS, MO – Residents in northeast Missouri are holding their breath and filling sandbags as a flood-filled Mississippi River is expected to crest this week close to the record set in the Great Flood of 1993.

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has asked for volunteers throughout the region to help with sandbagging efforts in the towns of Hannibal, Canton and Alexandria.

He's also mobilized 165 Missouri National Guard troops to assist with flood preparation efforts.

Alan Dooley is a spokesman with the St. Louis District Army Corps of Engineers.

"There are levee's up there that we feel in all probability will be overtopped but they're working feverishly right now to sandbag and protect from that overtopping, said Dooley.

The Missouri and Illinois rivers flow into the Mississippi just north of St. Louis. Unlike 1993, flooding on those rivers is not as bad as it was then.

In St. Louis floodwaters are expected to crest at 39.4 on Friday, that's about 10 feet below the record.

Hundreds of Illinois National Guard troops were dispatched to communities along the swollen Mississippi River Sunday.

In the town of Grafton, near the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, floodwaters started to cross Main Street.

Residents have been preparing for the flood for days now. Mayor Richard Mosby says the warning gave people time to empty out homes and basements that will soon be filled with water.

"We're just trying to deal with it all, I mean we've been working for awhile to get all the detours in place as the water keeps coming up, so we can direct people and make sure that everybody can get in and out, said Mosby.

Floodwaters in Grafton are expected to crest at 31 feet later this week.

At that stage portions of the Great River Road will be under water.