Historic crests expected on the Mississippi River, threatening levees

Flood forecasts released Thursday for the rivers in the St. Louis area show crests nearing historic levels along the Mississippi. In many spots, including St. Louis, it will reach the highest level since The Great Flood of ’93.

Mississippi River: All locations along the Mississippi River from Louisiana to Chester, including St. Louis, will see the second highest crests on record. Crests will be around 3 to 4 feet below the 1993 records at Alton, St. Louis and Chester.

There will be a much narrower gap from Grafton to the north. In fact, flood waters from the Mississippi are forecast to come within 1 to 2 inches of the 1993 record at Clarksville.

Illinois River: Concerns are running high for the Nutwood levee, which protects 10,300 acres in Greene and Jersey counties. The crest at Hardin is expected at just above 40 feet on June 4.

Meramec River: Moderate flooding is ongoing at Valley Park and Fenton, with major flooding underway at Arnold. All of the Meramec floodings is due to back-up flood waters from the very high Mississippi River. The crest on June 5 will not be a record crest in Arnold. The water level will stay over 5 feet feet below the 2015 record.

Missouri River: All locations will crest in moderate flood stage early next week. The crest levels at all locations will be 4 to 7 feet below 1993 records.

If the Missouri River was running higher right now, the Mississippi River would be much closer to the 1993 record levels in Grafton, Alton, St. Louis and Chester.