2015-2016 Flood: What We Know So Far

Jan 4, 2016
Originally published on January 4, 2016 10:34 am

Heavy rainfall and swollen rivers have caused major flooding in Missouri and southern Illinois, leading to voluntary evacuations and road closures. The governors of both states have declared a state of emergency, and water levels on the Mississippi River shattered records. While this story is still developing, here are the main things you need to know about the recent floods.

 

Breaking Flood Records: Thebes, Cape Girardeau, Cairo

 

 

The Mississippi River in Thebes, Illinois broke its previous high water record on Dec. 31 and crested on Jan. 2 at 47.74 feet.  Flood waters from the river covered once visible streets, houses, a playground, cars and a nearby church.

Pastor of the Apostolic Church of Thebes, Jimmie Monahan, said on Wednesday the church’s basement had 4 feet of water.

“I can show you that it’s come up to here in the basement on me,” Monahan said, pointing to his shoulder. “It’s rising pretty close to an hour, an inch an hour. It’s coming up fast.”

Currently, the Mississippi River at Thebes is beginning to show signs of progress, as the water levels have decreased to 46.82 feet at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. The National Weather Service is predicting the water levels will recede to 40.9 feet on Jan. 7.

In Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the Mississippi River broke the 1993 high water record on Jan. 1 and set a new record of 48.86 feet on the same day. Water levels have shown signs of slowly falling, and the National Weather Service forecasts water levels will decrease to 40.5 feet by Jan. 7.

Flood waters from the Ohio River in Cairo, Illinois reached 55.82 feet early on Jan. 2, falling well short of the the previous record of 61.7 feet in 2011 when the levee and flood walls around Cairo received a lot of damage. Frank Blakemore from Alexander County Emergency Management said Cairo’s levees are holding up.

“They are holding,” Blakemore said. “They're having a little bit [of] a leakage issue down there, but nothing that can not be controlled. Other than that everything right now is looking pretty good down in Cairo.”

Several towns in Alexander County like Olive Branch were also affected by the recent floods. Friday morning Alexander County officials advised residents in Hodges Park, Unity, Sandusky, Olive Branch, Willard, Miller City and Fayville to leave before the Mississippi River overtopped the Len Small Levee on Friday.

Click here to see video footage from the Illinois State Police of the levee breach west of Miller City in Alexander County.

 

 

A State of Emergency

Both Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner declared a state of emergency as a result of the recent floods. Gov. Nixon, who declared a state of emergency on Dec. 27, 2015, urged Missourians to avoid travel and be cautious of the roadways.

“Widespread flooding and continued rainfall are causing very dangerous conditions across much of central and southern Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said in a press release. “Multiple fatalities due to flash flooding have already been reported, and I urge Missourians in flood-affected areas to stay alert, avoid travel if possible and never drive into a flooded roadway. With more heavy rain expected tonight and tomorrow, state emergency management personnel will be working around the clock to keep Missourians safe.”

On Dec. 29, the governor deployed the Missouri National Guard to act as security in evacuated areas and direct traffic from closed roads. So far, there have been 13 flood related deaths in Missouri.

 

Gov. Bruce Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation on Dec. 29, 2015 for the counties of Calhoun, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair. The following day five additional counties were included: Alexander, Christian, Clinton, Douglas and Morgan. As a result of the proclamation, all 12 counties impacted by the floods are guaranteed to receive support from the state.

“These counties have significant issues related to flooding that is already occurring or could occur over the next several days,” Gov. Rauner said in a press release. “We are committed to help local responders in these and other impacted counties ensure the safety of people affected by this unusual December flooding.”

 

Road Closures

 

Update: 1/4/16 10:03 a.m.

 

State Route 177 is now open.

 

Update: 1/4/16 10:32 a.m.

MoDOT Southeast reports "Route 177 in Cape County by Kenco is still CLOSED! Please note that the area is still flooded."

 

As a result of the recent floods there have been numerous road closures and delays across both states.

  • Missouri: Cape Girardeau County Closures

    • State Route 177

      • Flooding reported beginning 7.54 miles before RT V N, ends 6.6 miles before RT V N.

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route 177

      • Flooding reported beginning 4.12 miles before RT V S, ends 3.13 miles before RT V S.

      • Closed Since: 12/31/2015

    • State Route 25

      • Flooding reported beginning less than .01 miles after RT AB W, ends at RT A W.

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route 74

      • Flooding reported beginning .58 miles after IS 55S, ends at MO 25 N

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route 74

      • Flooding reported beginning at RT A W, ends, .09 miles before US 61 S.

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route A

      • Flooding reported beginning at MO 74 W, ends .59 miles after MO 74 E.

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route A

      • Flooding reported beginning .12 miles after IS 55N, ends 3.81 miles after IS 55 N

      • Closed Since: 12/31/2015

    • Ramp IS 55N to  MO 74 E

      • Flooding reported beginning .03 miles after IS 55 N, ends .02 miles before MO 74 E.

      • Closed Since: 01/01/2016

    • Ramp IS 55S to MO 74

      • Flooding reported beginning at MO 74 W, ends at MO 74 E.

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • Kingshighway

      • Flooding reported beginning 1.13 miles before MO 74 E, ends at MO 74 E.

      • Closed Since: 12/28/2015

    • US 61 [Expect Delays]

      • Flooding reported beginning .02 miles after MO 74 E, ends .08 miles before IS 55 S. Right lane closed to Route 74.

      • Roadway Impacted Since: 12/29/2015 5:50 p.m.

 

Source: MODOT http://traveler.modot.org/map/

Don’t see your county listed? Click here to find out which roads or highways are closed in your area.

  • Illinois: Road Closures

    • Old Rt-IL-3 at Gale Pump House in Alexander Cnty closed due to flooding

    • IL-3 between IL-151 and Jackson/Randolph County line is closed due to flooding. Follow marked detour. (Jackson County)

    • Il-143 is closed between I-255 & Wesley due to flooding

    • IL-3 is closed at IL-100 due to flooding.

    • IL-3 is closed at East Broadway Street in Alton due to the levy district closing the flood gates. (Madison County)

    • IL-3 is closed from County Highway 2 to the Cove Levy Gate due to flooding. (Randolph County)

    • IL-3 closed from the Randolph/Jackson County line to Chester, IL due to flooding.

    • IL-3 at the Truck By-Pass in Randolph Co. is closed due to the rising Mississippi River.

    • Il-3 at Nine Mile Creek (13.5 miles South of Red Bud) between Mimosa Dr. and Dew Drop Rd is closed due to water over roadway.

 

Source: IDOT http://www.idot.illinois.gov/

 

Don’t see your county listed? Click here to see all of the latest road closures in Illinois.

 

Need Help?

 

Here is a list of services and shelters if you’re in need or know someone who is.

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