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Missouri River crest expected in this area next week

Vegetation grows along the Missouri River on Monday, June 12, 2023, at a Missouri River overlook in Glasgow, Mo. The Missouri River is the largest tributary to the Mississippi River.
Cara Penquite
Vegetation grows along the Missouri River on Monday, June 12, 2023, at a Missouri River overlook in Glasgow, Mo. The Missouri River is the largest tributary to the Mississippi River.

Extreme flooding in the Midwest is expected to make its way down the Missouri River over the next week.

Flooding in states like Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota has killed at least two people this week after record-setting rainfall.

Water is moving from tributaries in these states into the Missouri River and heading south. While some light flooding is projected, major damage is not currently expected in mid-Missouri.

Eileen Williamson, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said on Wednesday the National Weather Service forecast had the Missouri River cresting in Boonville at 24 feet around 1 a.m. on July 5.

By Thursday, Steve Schnarr, executive director of Missouri River Relief, said that number had decreased to 22.1 feet.

Williamson said any level over 21 feet could cause damage to low lying rural areas. This is according to the National Weather Service.

"When rivers are forecast to be in a flood stage status, then the Army Corps of Engineers is authorized to provide support to communities," Williamson said.

If the forecasted levels get higher, more damage could occur.

Schnarr said there is the potential for the forecast to change to more intense flooding.

"We do have additional rain in the forecast upstream that could make that projection go up," Schnarr said.

Near Columbia and Boonville, the current forecasted flooding would not cause much damage to homes or businesses.

Schnarr said the highest levels of flooding in Missouri are projected to occur in the northwest. He said this is because the river is narrower upstream than it is in mid-Missouri, so there is less room for the same amount of water.

Gov. Mike Parson extended a state of emergency Wednesday that was originally issued May 2 in response to severe weather.

“We have seen the tremendous, destructive force of flooding this past week in neighboring states to our north and must ensure resources are available should flooding threaten areas of our state,” Parson said in the release.

Some dams are closing gates to prevent further flooding, including the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, South Dakota. A press release from the Corps of Engineers said the gates were closed at 8 a.m. Wednesday and all releases will pass through the dam's powerhouse. The releases have been lowered from 24,000 cubic feet per second to 16,000 cubic feet per second as of Thursday.

The Corps of Engineers said in another press release Tuesday that it will be holding daily calls for stakeholders, including government officials and emergency managers, to share items including forecasts, runoff conditions and community support plans.

Olivia Mizelle is a student reporter at KBIA
The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.
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