The Missouri River and other waterways are already flooding in the state’s northwest and the Mississippi River’s levels are rising fast, especially in the northeast of the state.
Parts of Missouri could get thunderstorms through Wednesday, which would add water to the river basins. But storms that might dump up to 2 inches of rain in parts of Wisconsin and Iowa could further swell rivers downstream and be of greater concern in Missouri, Mark Fuchs, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, said Tuesday. He said the additional water would likely extend the duration of flooding, not worsen the crests.
“This is not an historic flood, at least not yet,” Fuchs said.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t causing trouble. Nearly 70 Missouri roads are closed due to high water, mostly in northwestern Missouri. The closures include stretches of U.S. 24 and Missouri 48.
The Missouri River will crest Thursday in St. Joseph at nearly 9 feet above flood stage, threatening a residential area, the weather service said. The Missouri also is expected to overflow agricultural levees near Glasgow on Friday, which could flood some homes. Stretches of the Katy Trail hiking and biking path in central Missouri are expected to flood.
The worst is yet to come along the Mississippi River. Towns such as Hannibal, Louisiana and Clarksville are expected to face significant flooding by the weekend. Buyouts since the historically bad 1993 flood have mitigated potential damage, but the high water could get into scattered homes and businesses.
In Hannibal, flood gates were installed to protect the Mark Twain sites and the rest of downtown, and a popular high school marching band festival was pushed back a week.
The Mississippi is expected to reach flood stage Thursday in St. Louis and crest nearly 6 feet above flood stage on Monday.
Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City contributed to this report.