Rising Mississippi River again causing concern in SE Missouri

Monday, May 6, 2013 | 2:31 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — The rising river is again raising concerns in some southeast Missouri communities, with another storm system in the forecast later this week.

Since late last week, heavy rain has caused the river to spike again. The National Weather Service is projecting a crest of 41.5 feet Wednesday in Cape Girardeau — nearly 10 feet above flood stage and just inches short of the crest during April flooding.

Cape Girardeau is protected by a flood wall, but streets are already submerged in neighboring towns like Commerce, where some residents need boats to get to and from their homes.

The river was 5 to 6 feet above flood stage Monday at several towns north of St. Louis — Hannibal, Louisiana, and Clarksville. It was 6 feet above flood stage at Alton, Ill., and more than 8 feet above flood stage at nearby Grafton, Ill. Several streets were underwater in those communities, and a few businesses and homes evacuated.

The flooding was also delaying corn planting for many farmers in the region.

At least six people were rescued over the weekend on flooded Missouri waterways. Three men fishing Sunday in the Meramec River near the St. Louis-area town of Arnold had to be rescued when their canoe capsized. The men were in the water for about 45 minutes. They were treated and released at a hospital.

Three others were rescued Saturday near De Soto after they drove into water that was covering a road. They managed to get out of the car, but the vehicle was swept away.

The latest round of flooding came after several inches of rain fell over much of the Midwest late last week and through the weekend. Bonne Terre in eastern Missouri received 4.5 inches of precipitation; Mount Sterling, Ill., 4.1 inches; Hannibal, 3.5 inches.

More rain is possible this week, though probably not as much. National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Britt said a storm system expected to arrive Thursday and Friday could bring another inch or two of rain.

"It does not look as bad as the last system we had," Britt said.

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