Flooding

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Clarksville, Mo., has barely begun to set itself to rights after the latest deluge from the Mississippi River.  But city officials are already worried about the next flood.

"It just seems like the flood comes more and more often now," said Clarksville Emergency Manager Kathy Weiss. "Twenty years ago we didn’t have a flood every year, but seems like now every year or two years we’re having a flood. So we have to think of something more permanent.”

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Weather forecasters are predicting slow relief for Missouri and Illinois towns battling floods. 

A number of towns situated along the Mississippi River have been dealing with rising waters over the past few days. The northeast Missouri town of Clarksville is experiencing its sixth flood in the past decade, while roads around Grafton, Illinois, are also under water.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Flooding along the upper Mississippi River is affecting navigation, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"High river levels have forced us to close two of our locks and dams. Lock and Dam 24 and 25 are both closed right now," said Mike Peterson, chief of public affairs.

"But there’s not a lot of river navigation going on along the upper river right now because upstream of us there is a whole lot of closed locks and dams."

Flood crests on the Mississippi are expected over the next week, but Peterson is not expecting much higher levels.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Flooding on the Mississippi River continues to make its way south from Iowa, putting towns from Quincy to Grafton on alert.

With historic buildings, a post office and a dozen homes all in the path of the flood, Clarksville, Mo., 75 miles north of St. Louis, has more to lose than most.

Flooding near Clarksville in 2008
St. Louis Beacon file photo

The National Weather Service is forecasting major flooding along stretches of the Mississippi River north of St. Louis early next week. A map on its site is regularly updated with river stages.

Development in Chesterfield Valley since the flood: Blue structures existed before the flood; yellow structures were built after the flood.
Base: USGS, Info: City of Chesterfield

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During the early days of the 1993 disaster that left businesses, homes and farmland awash on 4,000 flooded acres of the Chesterfield Valley, the possibility of rebuilding always seemed not a question of "if" but of "when."

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON — "An enormous ditch ... running liquid mud" is how novelist Charles Dickens described the mighty Mississippi River after his brief visit to St. Louis in the 1840s.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – After months of delay, the Army Corps of Engineers has posted its latest draft environmental impact statement on the controversial plan to close a floodway gap in the Mississippi River’s levee system in the Missouri Bootheel.

The draft EIS for the long-delayed St. John's Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project was criticized Friday by environmental groups that called on the administration of President Barack Obama to block the $165 million project.

As Chris Webber checked the 40 acres of muddy field he wanted to plant on a recent morning, he worried about getting more rain, even as he worried about the lack of it.

"The drought is over at the moment," he says. "But in Missouri, we tend to say that in 10 days or two weeks, we can be in a drought again. That's how fast it can get back to dry."

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Governor Jay Nixon received a briefing Friday on the flooding situation in West Alton, Mo. Although the small town is still battling floods, a big question now is how to cope with the cleanup costs.

Local officials stressed that the flooding is still at a critical stage, and that the Mississippi is still well over flood level.

But the question of how to handle the costs will have to be answered in the coming weeks. St. Charles County has spent about $1.4 million, but said keeping track of receipts has not been a priority for the past few days.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Tourist towns up and down the Mississippi River are feeling the economic pinch of high water, with the swollen waterway overrunning main routes to popular destinations and traffic dwindling.

That’s bad news for places like Clarksville, Mo., which relies heavily on sales tax revenue.  

They’ve stayed mostly dry thanks to efforts to keep the river at bay when it flooded in April, but Mayor Jo Anne Smiley says getting rid of temporary defenses that include 7,000 tons of rock and 500,000 sandbags won’t be cheap.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Mississippi River’s rampage through the St. Louis region this week is a “fairly big event,” though it doesn’t come close to approaching the historic crests recorded in 1993, said hydrologist Mark Fuchs of the National Weather Service.

“We haven’t seen it this high in 18 years, and that by itself is significant,” Fuchs said.

(Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio)

Developing Story, will be updated

Updated at 10:35 a.m. Thursday, June 6:

MSD says the Mississippi River has dropped enough to turn the pumps back on at Watkins Creek, ending the discharge of untreated wastewater into the river. The agency is asking that residents continue to avoid floodwaters in the area of the station, which is in the 11000 block of Riverview in Spanish Lake.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. with information from MSD:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Former residents of Pinhook, Mo., will gather from near and far Saturday at the American Legion hall in Sikeston to share memories of the community they lost in May 2011 when the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway to alleviate flooding on the Mississippi River.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Historian Christopher Morris will be at the Missouri History Museum Wednesday evening to discuss his extensive environmental history of the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The book is a little like the meandering river: It spreads over a wide expanse -- five centuries -- and fills in all sorts of nooks and crannies along the way.

(via Flickr/USACE HQ)

Reporting by Chris Slaby of WUIS.

Governor Pat Quinn has asked for federal help in the recovery after this spring’s flooding.

Quinn says the application is for 11 counties, mostly located in the northern part of the state.
He says with more than 3,000 homes affected in those counties alone, there’s more than enough evidence for the president to approve his request.

Andrew Wamboldt/KOMU News - via Flickr

A storm system that's dropping snow on the western half of the state will bring up to four inches of rain to the St. Louis area by Sunday.

But don't expect much in the way of flash flooding, says National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs.

"We're not necessarily expecting flash flooding in the classic sense - where you see a very quick rising water coming down the stream," Fuchs said. "But with that being said, there will be some roads in poor drainage areas that could go underwater."

Runaway Barges Cause Oil Spill

May 3, 2013
(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

The Coast Guard is assessing the environmental impact of roughly 300 gallons of crude oil it says spilled into the Mississippi River after more than a dozen barges briefly broke free near Alton, Ill.

The Coast Guard says a vessel hit an area where barges are docked on the river about 1 a.m. this morning, causing 14 to break away from their moorings. Those barges then hit another barge loading crude oil, which caused the spill of about seven barrels (300gallons) worth of oil.

(Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District)

Updated April 29, 7:30 p.m.

With the Mississippi River below 33 feet, MSD says it no longer has to use the pumps, and the flow of untreated wastewater into the river has stopped. The temporary pumps will remain in place.

Updated April 29, 4 p.m.

MSD officials say that with the Mississippi River dropping, the flow of untreated sewage has slowed to 16 million gallons a day. Crews continue to work on installing two temporary pumps to replace the ones that failed. The cause of the failure is still under investigation.

Copyright 2014 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Screenshot from the National Weather Service.

Just north of St. Louis, the city of Alton is bracing for the flooded Mississippi River to crest soon.

According to the National Weather Service, the river is expected to crest at about 30 feet on Tuesday -- nine feet above flood stage -- and remain near that level until Thursday.

Matt Asselmeier from Alton Mayor Tom Hoescht's office says they've filled more than 2,000 sand bags in preparation.

The good news is that "the big river didn't get too big," The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes this morning.

"Sandbags held back the cresting Mississippi River from several towns north of St. Louis on Sunday," it adds, "while the forecast for the immediate vicinity remained high but manageable."

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Update 4:50 p.m. with comments from Mo. Nat. Guard Maj. Tammy Spicer. Updated 2:43 with Missouri disaster declaration. Updated 9:56 a.m. April 19 with Missouri, St. Louis information. Updated at 4 p.m. April 18 with Ameren substation information.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has declared a state of emergency following significant flash and river flooding in his state.

(via Wikimedia Commons/FEMA Photo Library)

The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for St. Louis City and several Missouri counties, including Iron, Jefferson, Madison, St. Charles, St. Francois, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve and Washington. The Tornado Watch is in effect until 11 a.m.

Enyart, Durbin Push Bills To Aid Shipping Industry

Mar 14, 2013
via Flickr/TeamSaintLouis (Army Corps of Engineers)

A pair of bills related to transportation on the inland waterways was introduced in the US House and Senate on Thursday.

Illinois Congressman Bill Enyart introduced his first piece of legislation since being sworn into office last January—the Mississippi River Navigation Sustainment Act.

Enyart says the bill would give the Army Corps of Engineers authority that it doesn’t currently have, to conduct operations outside of the barge channel.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the near-historic Mississippi River flood of 2011 caused $2.8 billion in damage and tested the system of levees, reservoirs and floodways like no other flood before it.

(Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/Photo by Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk)

A Corps of Engineers study says more research and monitoring are needed to reduce the likelihood of damage along the Missouri River in future floods.

The study released Monday focuses on remaining vulnerabilities after the Missouri River rose to record levels last year. The flooding began after the corps released massive amounts of water from upstream reservoirs filled by melting snow and heavy rain.

Most repairs to damaged levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri are expected to be finished before next spring. Work on the river's dams expected to take longer.

(courtesy Photo Flood Saint Louis)

Photo Flood Saint Louis describes themselves as a "a collective of photographers, living in the area, who occasionally invade parts of town to record it in a surge of imagery" and "create a photographic map of St. Louis" in the process.

St. Louis Public Radio has partnered with Photo Flood to celebrate our area through these "surges," and show you the work resulting from each.

Today's blog post showcases the second meeting of the collective and their flood of Bellefontaine Cemetery.

(National Weather Service)

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service shows the remnants of Hurricane Isaac passing through the St. Louis region on Saturday morning. 

That has local officials getting ready for problems that could result from a major rainfall.

Metropolitan Sewer District spokesman Lance LeComb said storms like Isaac have historically presented the greatest threat of flash flooding.

(Sydney Miller/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two outlet malls are racing to build in what some say is one of the most valuable retail areas in America -- the Chesterfield Valley. If both are built, the companies would compete with each other, the Chesterfield Commons strip mall and the nearby Chesterfield Mall, risking financial failure.

Sydney Miller examines what it is about the Chesterfield region that makes it so attractive.

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