Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative | St. Louis Public Radio

Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative

Xan Fredericks of the U.S. Geological Survey demonstrates the new flood preparedness and planning tool. The U.S. Department of the Interior developed the tool in response to this year's floods. Aug 1 2019
Nicolas Telep | St. Louis Public Radio

A new online data and mapping tool went live today, and its creators hope municipalities in flood-prone areas will use it to plan for and respond to natural disasters.

The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and the U.S. Department of the Interior created an electronic portal in response to this year’s near-record flooding. The MRCTI Imagery and Information Viewer aggregates maps, weather forecasts and up-to-date data on floods and droughts — all information necessary for cities to better plan for natural disasters.

Kaci Dalton helped residents fill sandbags on Starling Airport Road in Arnold in May 2017.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic leaders along the Mississippi River are bracing for near-record flood levels in the coming days and weeks.

Mayors in Missouri and Illinois say federal programs that aim to prevent flood damage need more funding to adequately support river towns that face evacuation and income loss.

Flooding in Alton is expected to crest next week at 35.2 feet, the fifth-highest flood level on record, according to the National Weather Service. The river at Grafton is expected to reach the fourth-highest flood level on record for the city. River levels at both Illinois towns are expected to exceed levees and rise within 10 feet of historic levels reached during the Great Flood of ’93.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2012 - Along the length of the Mississippi, from Minnesota to Louisiana, there are 124 mayor-led municipalities on the river. If those mayors can agree on policies and programs, their combined voices are much stronger than any of them together.