Mississippi River expected to cause major flooding - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mississippi River expected to cause major flooding

(KFVS) - This Mississippi River is rising and will soon cause major flooding in parts of southeast Missouri.The flooding is due to recent rainfall, with more rain in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service in Paducah, Kentucky. 

As it sits at noon on Wednesday, June 17, the river is in a minor flooding stage at Cape Girardeau at 34.59 feet. By June 23, it is expected to crest in the range of a major flooding stage at 43.5 feet. 

At Chester, the river is supposed to also crest on June 23 at 41.9 feet. 

This is still several feet short of the overall record back on August 8, 1993 where the river crested at 48.49 feet at Cape Girardeau. 

Shawn Priddy with the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency says 50 percent of flood-related deaths occur when people attempt to drive in the water.

"The saying is turn around, don't drown," Priddy said. "Don't chance it. You know six inches of water can swipe the car right off the roadway and put you in harm's way."

Stephanie Tucker, from Chester, Ill., said driving isn't an option when it comes to flooding, because you never know what may be in the water.

“Anything can come up," Tucker said. "I don't know what could really come up. Wood! I mean, you name it, it's probably in the water.”

According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, the 1993 Midwest flood was one of the most significant and damaging natural disasters ever to hit the United States. Damages totaled $15 billion, 50 people died, hundreds of levees failed, and thousands of people were evacuated. 

There were also hundreds of towns affected by the flood waters, including 75 towns that were completely under water.

As of 7 p.m. on Wednesday, the following roads in Missouri are closed due to flooding. You can check the MoDOT map by clicking here.

  • Route E, both directions, in Perry County, Mo.
  • Route V, both directions, in Madison County, Mo.
  • Route C, both directions, in Wayne County, Mo.

High waters are affecting more than just roads. Parks across Missouri are being forced to close some attractions due to flooding. You can click here for more information.

MSHP reminds public of flooding dangers

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reminding the public that flooding is extremely dangerous to drivers and boaters.

They say never drive through fast-moving waters, even a small amount of fast-moving water can sweep a slow-moving vehicle off of the road. If you're vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground.

For more information on road closures, you can call the Road Condition hotline at 800-222-6400 or click here to see the map on the MoDOT website.

For their safety and that of their passengers, MoDOT reminds drivers to stay alert while moving in areas known to flood. Barricades closing a road are there to protect you. Drivers must respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT. It is extremely dangerous and a violation of state law to drive around them.

The highway patrol is also reminding drivers that state law requires you to turn on your vehicle's headlights any time you are using the windshield wipers. They say drivers need to slow down and turn on their headlights in rainy weather conditions.

Boaters should use caution also

They ask boaters across the state to take extra precautions when boating in flooded areas. Large amounts of rainfall can cause rivers and lakes to become swollen. In areas where lakes or rivers spill over the banks, erosion and damage can occur to flooded structures, docks or water laden levees by boat wakes. If necessary to be in those areas, boaters should operate at idle speed so as to avoid causing a wake.

According to the highway patrol, flooded rivers and streams with moving currents are some of the most dangerous situations a boater can encounter. Fast moving water can easily capsize or flip a boat - or personal watercraft - especially when combined with fixed objects such as trees and buildings. Boaters should avoid any operations in swift flowing waters.

Illinois State Police also reminding public of flooding dangers

With the recent heavy rains, ISP is reminding the public to be safe when traveling through areas experiencing flooding.

They are offering the following tips to help drivers:
  • Check for road conditions prior to your trip. A list of road closures can be found by clicking here
  • Be aware of and obey "High Water" and "Road Closed" signs
  • Avoid driving through water over a road. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.
  • Be aware of debris left in the road from flooding. Logs, rocks and mud can be left on the road from flooding
  • Be on the lookout for downed electrical power lines, especially in water over the roads
  • Make sure your vehicle is prepared for the wet weather. Have your tires, brakes and windshield wipers checked to make sure they are in good working condition
  • Turn on your headlights. State law requires you to turn on your headlights when your windshield wipers are on due to weather conditions. With your headlights on, you are more visible to other drivers
  • Allow for more travel time. When the roads are wet you should drive at a slower speed. Also keep in mind that traffic will likely be traveling slower as well
  • Increase your following distance. Wet roads and reduced visibility increases the amount of time it takes to safely stop your vehicle
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