By JIM SALTER , Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The remnants of Tropical Depression Gordon are expected to drop heavy rain across much of Missouri through the weekend, creating a risk of flooding and flash-flooding.
The National Weather Service says south-central Missouri and the St. Louis area could get up to 6 inches of rain by Sunday with more in some spots.
With a flash flood watch covering the eastern three-quarters of the state, rivers are rising too. The Mississippi River is above flood stage at the Missouri towns of Canton, Hannibal, and Louisiana. The river is expected to crest in the coming days about 4 to 6 feet above flood stage. No major damage is expected but Hannibal has installed its flood wall to protect its downtown, including the Mark Twain sites.
Portions of the Missouri River also are near or at technical flood stage, though only partially due to rain. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that higher-than-normal water releases from dams northwest of Missouri will continue through the fall season. The Corps said the water release is necessary because high amounts of runoff caused a large amount of water to be stored in reservoirs.
The bigger concern being flash flooding, the Missouri State Highway Patrol urged drivers to avoid flooded roadways, noting that even one foot of water can move swiftly and prove deadly.
The patrol also encouraged boaters to take extra precautions because rain-swollen waterways can make for faster currents and unpredictable conditions.
It’s unclear how much of the water will help farmers severely impacted by the summer-long drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that conditions have eased across much of the state due to rain over the past couple of weeks. Currently, 21 percent of Missouri is now listed in severe drought or worse, compared to 37 percent a week earlier.
The wet weather is bringing relief from hot, steamy weather. After several consecutive days of temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, St. Louis is expected to see highs only in the low 70s Saturday and Sunday.