By the numbers: Mississippi River dropped below flood stage in Cape Girardeau after 144 days

Mississippi River drops below flood stage

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Sunday, August 4 was a historic day for the Heartland as the Mississippi River level dropped below flooding stage.

It ended the longest flood in recorded history for both Cape Girardeau and the Heartland viewing area.

New flooding numbers were released to Heartland News on Thursday, August 8.

Here are some flooding facts according to Cape Girardeau Public Works Director Stanley Polivick:

  • The river was above 40 feet for 74 days - that is the level that impacts roads and begins significant flooding
  • It was above 42 feet for 50 days - 42 feet is major flood stage
  • The highest stage was 46.36 feet on June 12, the fifth highest recorded in Cape Girardeau; the flow approximately was 426 gallons per minute; for a 24-hour period it was over 613 billion gallons
  • Total flow over the 144 days was around 63 trillion gallons - with an average of over 304 gallons per minute
  • Approximate flow over the 144 days was 304 gallons per minute and 437 billion gallons per day

On December 18, 2018, flooding began in the Heartland area, according to the National Weather Service in Paducah. Since then, we have seen two major rivers flood, both reaching high water marks in the top five of recorded history.

During that time, three states saw devastating flooding which damaged housing, businesses, roads, farmland and more.

Cape Girardeau was the last of the flooded river areas. The Mississippi River first started flooding on March 12. After nearly five months, a total of 144 days, it dipped below 32 feet on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 4.

Brenda Thiele and her husband Danny were at the riverfront at Cape Girardeau to check out the water level.

"It's very weird," Brenda Thiele said. "It's still got a lot to go before it gets back down to normal but I'm really surprised it's down as low as it is."

Heartland News also spoke Phil Shaver who took his family to the riverfront to look at the river. He said it’s good to see the river level down and the gates back open. He said it should help downtown businesses that suffered from the lack of river traffic during the flood.

"I know the downtown businesses have been hurting a little too because of the wall being closed," Shaver said. "The river brings a lot of downtown. We like coming downtown."

Shaver said the river provides enjoyment for families as they visit the downtown area.

“My daughter and I like to throw rocks in the river sometimes,” Shaver added. “It’s one of the good things about Cape Girardeau having this big river here and it brings commerce in.”

As of 8 a.m., the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Mo. dropped below flood stage for the first time since March 12.

Posted by KFVS-TV on Sunday, August 4, 2019

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