ST. LOUIS — Several Missouri communities along the nation's two largest rivers were dealing with moderate flooding on Monday, the result of persistent June rains both in the Show-Me State and to the north.
The National Weather Service maintained flood warnings Monday along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The northwest corner of the state appeared to be getting the worst of it, the result of heavy rain in Nebraska that flowed down the Missouri River.
"The saturation level is just so high," St. Joseph city spokeswoman Mary Robertson said. "We're just getting a lot of rain, and it won't let the river go down."
The Missouri was 6.9 feet above flood stage at St. Joseph by Monday morning, with a crest at 26.4 feet — 9.4 feet above flood stage — predicted for Wednesday. If that happens, it would be the fourth-worst flood on record in St. Joseph.
Residents of nine to 10 properties in a low-lying area will have to evacuate their homes when the river reaches 24 feet. Robertson said if the river reaches 27 feet, it would become a cause for concern. A levee could be compromised, and the wastewater plant would have to pump directly into the river.
"We've got pumps on standby," Robertson said. "Sandbags are ready to go."
The Missouri was also flooding moderately in towns including Boonville, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington and St. Charles.
National Weather Service meteorologist Andura Hennecke said a wet weather pattern has stalled over this area of the Midwest.
"We're just getting round after round of precipitation," Hennecke said. "It's not allowing the rivers to recede."
Temperatures well into the 90s were forecast for the area, but there was also a chance of rain through most of the week, especially in northern Missouri.
The Mississippi was nearly 3 feet above flood stage in Hannibal and St. Louis and expected to rise slightly before cresting on Wednesday. In southeast Missouri, Cape Girardeau's reading was 36.5 feet Monday — 4.5 feet above flood stage with a crest 38.4 feet predicted for Friday.
The rain and saturated ground was also causing problems for farmers. Cornfields were already wet, and those in northern Missouri will likely get more saturated with rain this week, said Pat Guinan, climatologist for the University of Missouri.
Wayne Crook, a University of Missouri Extension agronomist in Chariton County in northern Missouri, said farmers are starting to worry.
"Farmers are starting to sandbag lower levees on the Grand River," he said. "Others are moving their machinery to higher ground as concern grows about the levees holding. They are getting pessimistic."