Minor flooding reported around Missouri

Monday, December 29, 2008 | 4:48 p.m. CST; updated 6:54 p.m. CST, Monday, December 29, 2008

ST. LOUIS — In a year that has seen everything from floods to drought, ice storms to heat waves, one last round of weather woes should come as no surprise.

Weekend storms brought up to 2 inches of rain through much of Missouri. Combined with snow melt, that’s causing minor flooding along some rivers, including the Mississippi. No significant damage is reported or expected.

“The ground was pretty frozen so everything was going right into the streams as runoff,” National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell said.

By Monday, some areas were still under flood warnings. The Grand River reached more than 6 feet above flood stage in Chillicothe and nearly 9 feet above flood stage in nearby Sumner, leaving several roads under water. By New Year’s Day, the river should be back within its banks.

The Mississippi is cresting slightly above flood stage by Wednesday in Hannibal and Clarksville. No flooding along the Mississippi is expected from St. Louis to the south.

Minor flooding was reported along three branches of the Fabius River in northeast Missouri.

Missouri has been hammered by extreme weather this year — January ice storms, spring floods and tornadoes, massive summer floods that rivaled 1993 levels and then, ironically, late-summer droughts in some parts of the state.

Overall, though, it has been the wettest year on record, at least in St. Louis, where 57.96 inches of precipitation topped the old record of 54.97 inches in 1982. Sipprell said six months in 2008 saw top-10 rainfall amounts since the Weather Service began keeping records in 1870.

Cleanup continues after storms and tornadoes damaged several buildings on Saturday.

No one was hurt but a tornado in Ralls County near Hannibal that caused roof and window damage at two apartment complexes. A billboard was shredded along U.S. 61 south of Hannibal. In Lincoln County near Troy, a tornado damaged a home and destroyed a barn. Debris from the barn was found a mile away.

In southeast Missouri, strong winds ripped the roof of a home in Jackson. Route 25 in Stoddard County was shut down for part of Saturday and Sunday after high winds blew down several utility poles between Dexter and Bernie. Three cars were trapped. No one was hurt, but about 1,100 customers lost power for a while.

The storms were part of a wildly fluctuating weather pattern that brought freezing rain early in the week, thunderstorms in the latter part. Highs early last week were in the single digits. By Saturday, highs were in the upper 60s — briefly.

“It was 67 Saturday morning and we had freezing rain and snow (Saturday) night,” Hannibal emergency management director John Hark told the Hannibal Courier-Post.

Cape Girardeau emergency manager Mark Hasheider marveled at what his part of the state has been through this year.

“Looking back at weather events for the year, the high winds, snow, and ice — we’d like the end of year to kind of go out quietly,” he told the Southeast Missourian newspaper.

It appears he’ll get his wish. Sipprell expects a relatively quiet and precipitation-free weather pattern over the next week. Highs should be in the 50s through Tuesday, then seasonal into the weekend.


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