Tuesday, April 26, 2011
A flood warning in Callaway County has been issued by the National Weather service for this week along the Missouri River and possible flash flooding in other rivers and creeks throughout much of Central Missouri.
Flooding along the Missouri River in Callaway and Osage counties is forecast near Chamois. At 7 a.m. Monday the Missouri River was measured at 17.1 feet and flood stage is 17 feet at Chamois. The National Weather Service reported that lower-lying bottom land in Callaway and Osage counties begins to flood when the flood stage hits 17 feet near Chamois.
The Missouri River at Chamois is expected to continue rising to 18 feet by early Wednesday morning. It is predicted to fall below flood stage on Thursday morning.
The flood warning is a result of rain during the past 24 hours on already saturated ground. An estimated 2 to 2.5 inches of rain is forecast during the next 24 hours.
The Weather Service warned that rainfall heavier than currently forecast could cause river levels to rise even higher than predicted.
The Missouri River at Jefferson City is expected to remain below its 23-foot flood stage.
The National Weather Service at St. Louis issued a hazardous weather outlook Monday for the Central Missouri counties of Callaway, Audrain, Montgomery, Cole, Boone, Moniteau, Osage and Gasconade.
Heavy rain and flash flooding is likely along and south of Interstate 70. Severe weather is a real possibility. Damaging winds and large hail are the primary severe weather threats.
Callaway County Highway Administrator Paul Winkelmann said the main danger in Callaway is from backwater from the Missouri River.
“We have been fortunate that the rain has mainly been slow and steady. But if we have a heavy downpour, we might have some localized flash flooding along creeks throughout Callaway County,” Winkelmann said. “They normally go down fairly rapidly. The water stays up for much longer periods of time if it is from backwater from the Missouri River.”
He said there are some low water crossings in Callaway County but they are mainly on roads that are not heavily traveled.
“The people who live around them know to be careful and avoid going through them when the water is high,” Winkelmann said.
Gov. Jay Nixon Monday activated the Missouri National Guard to deal with flooding in Missouri. The main concern was a breech of levees near Poplar Bluff.
The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) reported Monday afternoon that state roads were closed by high water north of Interstate 70 at seven locations, at five locations between Interstate 70 and Interstate 44, and at more than 150 locations south of Interstate 44.
The Red Cross set up a shelter at Cape Girardeau because of the high number of flood victims in the area. Red Cross spokeswoman Sara Gerau said Monday afternoon water was rising rapidly. She warned people living near rising waters to get their medications and belongings together so they will be prepared to leave the area if the need arises.
The State Emergency Management Agency has warned Missourians to be prepared for the possibility of localized flooding and to drive cautiously if they encounter water on roadways, which can be deceptive and dangerous.
“Because some rivers and streams are already running high, residents in low level areas prone to flooding should pay attention to weather forecasts for their area and be prepared,” said Paul Parmenter, SEMA director.
Parmenter offered these driving tips:
•Never drive through fast-moving water. Less than 6 inches of fast-moving water can sweep a slow-moving vehicle off the roadway.
•When water starts to push against the side of a vehicle it can sweep a vehicle away.
•If your vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground but be careful not to step into a flooded ditch along the road.
•Respect barriers or barricades put in place by the MoDOT or local agencies. Do not go around them because they have been placed there to protect you from danger.