Conditions ripe for ‘significant flooding’ in St. Louis this spring, scientist says

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ST. LOUIS – It could be a St. Louis spring of sandbags and rising water.

“Conditions are ripe for significant flooding,” said Mark Fuchs, hydrologist for the National Weather Service.

Fuchs said there are three ingredients in that flooding recipe: above average streams and above average soil moisture in the upper Midwest, plus heavy snowfalls in states like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.

“They’ve really gotten hammered with snow over the past few weeks,” Fuchs said.

There’s even a chance—about 5 percent—of St. Louis enduring another flooding event similar to 1993.

“This is the highest risk of significant flooding we’ve had along the Mississippi River in my 12 years in St. Louis,” Fuchs said.

The St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management has been told about the flooding forecast and they are prepared.

“We do training exercises throughout the year, whether it’s flooding, or tornado, or even terrorist attacks, or things like that, so we do plan and prepare throughout the year just in case,” said Tracy Panus, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Once the possibility becomes more likely they start contacting folks about sandbags and sandbagging machines.

MSD operates 28 pump stations along the city’s flood wall. When the river reaches the 30-foot flood stage, the pumps are manned round the clock to prevent river water from rushing into people’s homes. Divers are sent down manholes to prevent the Mississippi from creating other problems.

“We will start plugging sewers and make sure manhole covers are buttoned up so they don’t overflow and cause flooding on the streets,” said Sean Hadley, MSD spokesman.

The flood forecast depends a lot on future rains. If we experience normal or above normal rains this spring in the Midwest we could be in for big flooding. Less than normal and maybe we’ll stay on high and dry ground.

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