Heavy rain will lead to Mississippi River rise, little flooding elsewhere


Heavy rain fell in many areas Tuesday and Wednesday, but the highest totals were north of St. Louis, near Quincy and Hannibal.

“On the upper part of the Mississippi River, we are expecting minor flooding pretty much from Canton, Missouri all the way down through Quincy, Hannibal, all the way down to Winfield and Grafton,” said Mark Fuchs, a senior service hydrologist with the National Weather Service.

But downstream, flooding is not forecasted thanks to the lack of Missouri River inflow. If fact, despite all the heavy rain, rivers like the Meramec, Cuivre, Illinois, and Kaskaskia filled their banks but didn’t overtop them.

“The Meramec for example, there was some rain but it was less than three-quarters of an inch and that never produces flooding on the Meramec,” Fuchs said. “And the same on Cuivre River basin, there wasn’t much rain there either.”

2020 turned out not to be a bad year for Spring flooding, despite a heavy northern snowpack, high soil moisture, and rivers running full through the winter.

“We had a dry March. We did have a bit of wet April but then May turned around and it wasn’t all that wet,” Fuchs said. “And June turned out to be dry, up until the last few days anyway.”

In cases like the rain we saw the last two days, what really worries the National Weather Service is flash flooding on smaller streams and creeks.

“Whenever you see intense heavy rainfall this time of the year a lot of times it can happen in short bursts and suddenly, out of nowhere, you have a flash flood. And that’s really the biggest taker of life, in terms of flooding, that we have.”

They issue warnings to protect life and property, but they need all of us to listen and play it safe.

“You can be driving along a country road in the middle of the night and think everything is fine and all of a sudden find yourself floating away in a car,” Fuchs said. “That’s happened way too many times around here.”

Fuchs reminds everyone that flash floods are just that, flash. They go up and down in a hurry. So, if you see a road that’s flooded and you can’t get across, wait a half hour or an hour, that flood will subside and you will be able to get where you want to go safely.

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