Nearly 400 Missouri Roads Closed by Flooding

June 3, 2019 Updated: June 3, 2019

ST. LOUIS—The swollen Missouri and Mississippi rivers are closing hundreds of roads and inundating homes and businesses.

Locks and dams upstream of St. Louis are shut down as the Mississippi River crests at its second-highest level on record in some areas, straining agriculture levees.

Floodgates also have been closed in St. Louis in advance of the river cresting there Thursday.

The high water already is causing problems. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that several hotels that were crowded with visitors for the Stanley Cup Final and Cardinals-Cubs baseball games were left without hot water Sunday after too much water overwhelmed a pump station.

Along the Missouri River, water levels were falling in Jefferson City after a crest that flooded railroad tracks and airport property. Statewide, nearly 400 roads are closed.

Mandatory Evacuations in Missouri

States along the Mississippi are experiencing their own threats from the rising water levels. In fact, 80 flood gauges running through 10 different states—from North Dakota to Louisiana—are indicating major flooding, the highest category.

A levee failure on the Mississippi River has caused a mandatory evacuation of residents in West Quincy, Missouri, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office told CNN.

And according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, 400 roads are underwater, with the potential for more to come.

Mississippi river floodings 1
Emily Kientzel empties the water out of her grandmother Joan FitzGerald’s boot that filled with floodwater from the Mississippi River, as they check on the home of a friend outside of Portage des Sioux, Mo., on June 2, 2019. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
State Highway 3 is swallowed up by flood water where the Marys River meets the Mississippi River at Chester, Ill., on May 30, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Mississippi River in St. Louis is expected to crest next Tuesday around 46 feet—the second-highest level on record behind the 1993 floods. It would also be the second Top 7 crest of all time just this year—with the previous being 41.7 feet on May 6.

Some of the high water has come from heavy rains: CNN Meteorologist Brandon Miller says portions of northern Oklahoma through central Kansas have seen 15-20 inches of rain during the month of May, which is 300 to 400% of the normal amount.

There’s a brief break in the rain this weekend, but heavy rain is forecast for parts of Oklahoma and Kansas, with another 4-6 inches possible next week.

Mississippi River Breaches Pin Oak Levee

Emergency management officials say residents in and around the town of Winfield in northeast Missouri should evacuate after a leave there was breached.

Lincoln County Emergency Management officials said water started going over the Pin Oak levee in Winfield just after midnight Sunday and the levee had been breached by Sunday afternoon.

The warning said at the rate the water is moving, it was expected to reach homes in east Winfield Sunday evening.

Winfield, a town of about 1,400 people, is about 55 miles northwest of St. Louis.

KSDK reports the levee protects about 40 homes in the town.

Emily Kientzel puts a cooler in her friend’s boat as they prepare to take the boat out over floodwaters from the Mississippi River to his home outside of Portage des Sioux, Mo., on June 2, 2019. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The Mississippi River near Winfield was at 38.23 feet as of 4 p.m. Sunday. The record of 39.6 feet occurred in 1993. Flood stage is 26 feet.

Emergency Flooding

The Army Corps of Engineers’ New Orleans district announced that while it will be later than expected, they plan to operate the Morganza Floodway on June 9.

The floodway is designed for emergency flooding and when operated, diverts excess floodwater from the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya Basin, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The operation of the floodway itself can cause damage to properties surrounding it, the department said.

It was only operated twice before: once in 1973 and once in 2011.

The CNN wire contributed to this article.

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