The massive amount of water flowing south and east along the Missouri River will begin to flood portions of central Missouri this Independence Day holiday weekend.
The Missouri River at Jefferson City is forecast to rise by six feet and reach 29 feet as early as Thursday, just a foot shy of the top of the city's north levee. Jim Kramper with the National Weather Service office in St. Louis expects the capital city's flood threat to remain at moderate.
"The real kicker will be additional rainfall...if the rainfall stays above average or we get some major rain events over the next couple of weeks, it could bump it up to the major category," Kramper said.
If the north levee at Jefferson City is topped, flood waters could threaten the city's airport and a number of businesses. Officials with the Isle of Capri Casino are monitoring river levels in Boonville, Mo. but so far they say they don't anticipate any need to close down.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon met with officials from the Missouri National Guard outside St. Joseph, Mo. for a briefing Monday on the guard's response to the flooding. He said the floods were made worse by heavy overnight storms that dumped up to 4 inches of rain in some sections, swelling the river past major flood stage near St. Joseph.
Three levees in northwest Missouri also overtopped Monday, and three small towns were under voluntary evacuations orders.
National Guard Col. David Boyle said about 200 troops have been working full-time on the flood, but more may be added as the high-water levels reach downstream.