COLUMBIA — Numerous roads near the Missouri River are expected to be covered by floodwaters by Saturday, when the river is forecasted to jump above flood stage at Jefferson City and Boonville.
The National Weather Service forecasts a crest of 26.4 feet Saturday evening at Jefferson City — 3.4 feet above flood stage. A crest of 25.9 feet is forecasted in Boonville for late Friday night — 4.9 feet above flood stage.
The floods are the result of heavy rain on Wednesday and earlier in the week. The Weather Service measured 3.16 inches of rain at Columbia Regional Airport since Sunday, and rainfall totals of 3 to more than 4 inches were common on Wednesday across north-central Missouri.
"This is the end of a very wet week for us," hydrologist Mark Fuchs said.
According to a summary of impacts from the Weather Service, a stage of 26.4 feet at Jefferson City would:
Close the following roads in southern Boone County: Route K one mile east of McBaine, Coats Lane, Grocery Branch, Burr Oak, Old Plank, Harold Cunningham, Fox Hollow, Cedar Tree, Jemerson Creek, Christian School, Claysville and Soft Pit Hill roads, as well as Easley River Road along the river. Additionally, Smith Hatchery would be closed south of Cooper's Landing.
- When the river reaches 26 feet or higher, pumping begins from a ditch at Hartsburg.
- The owner of Cooper's Landing, Mike Cooper, said if the river reached roughly 26 feet as predicted, and if the roads leading to his business close, he would be forced to cancel entertainment. He didn't expect the forecast levels to damage the business.
Fuchs said the drought that persisted into early this year had some worried that river levels would drop to dangerous levels, but heavy snows in the January and February and recent rains have helped the region to recover.
"It's generally better to have more water than not enough," he said.