Storms prompted flash flood warnings for several counties in mid-Missouri on Thursday afternoon, but an official with the National Weather Service didn’t believe the rain was widespread enough to exacerbate flooding on the Missouri River.
Nearly 3 inches of rain fell in three hours Wednesday afternoon in parts of central Boone County, closing several roads and flooding small creeks and streams. The downpours came as the swollen Missouri River was nearing forecast crests.
Jim Kramper of the Weather Service office in St. Louis said the latest rain should have little effect on Missouri River flooding. “To have an impact you have to have pretty widespread amounts of rain,” Kramper said.
Forecasts for crests along the Missouri were lowered again Thursday morning, providing relief for emergency managers who have been coordinating efforts this week to protect property at several locations in Boone County.
“What we’re looking at now is nothing worse than what is considered moderate flooding,” Kramper said. “It will cause problems only around the river bank, and most major infrastructures and roads will be OK.”
The river was forecast to crest at 29.8 feet this morning in Boonville and 30.3 feet early Saturday in Jefferson City.
On Thursday evening, Chief Steve Paulsell of the Boone County Fire District, said the area of greatest local concern was along the Katy Trail at Rocheport, but the latest crest forecasts were encouraging.
“We’re comfortable we’ll be able to hold that if the water gets that high,” Paulsell said.
The Boone County Fire District and the Boone County Public Works Department, along with nearly 500 volunteers, put up barriers and filled sandbags earlier this week to build a wall nearly 2,500 feet along the trail. The wall will provide extra protection for the forecasted crest.
“The wall is built to hold back a crest of 34 feet, which is well above forecast,” Paulsell said. He added that pumps were in place to drain excess rainwater because drainage pipes and culverts have been blocked to prevent river water from backing up.
A flood update issued Thursday afternoon by the Columbia/Boone County Emergency Operations Center reported stable conditions across Boone County.
Debris from floodwaters blocked a “flapper valve” on a culvert, backing water into Hartsburg, the update said. The debris was cleared, and pumps were used to remove the water. Members of the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District were keeping an eye on levees and were prepared to sandbag if necessary.
Downriver at Jefferson City, Susan Green, the director at the Cole County Emergency Operations Center, called the latest crest forecast “comfortable.”
Levees at Jefferson City are designed to hold 30 to 30.3 feet, she said.
“We get to breathe easier,” Green said, “Really, it is a comfortable forecast. As long as we don’t get heavy localized rainfall north of us, we’re OK.”
Kristin Brake of the Missourian’s staff contributed to this report.