Southern Howard County was spared from significant flooding over Wednesday night after breaches upstream of Petersburg lowered the river level, but work to bolster the levee continued Thursday as officials expected it would be at risk again later in the day.
Sandbagging efforts are continuing in southwest Howard County, and the river is expected to rise back to a dangerous level by this evening, said Howard County EMA co-director Bill John. The levee should hold through the day if the water level remains low, but it could break overnight as the river rises again.
Residents in southern Howard County along Highway Z, in Franklin, and in New Franklin south of Sulphur Street, were advised to evacuate Wednesday night as officials expected the levee to breach at Petersburg.
One levee broke at Miami, and in Saline County, across the river and south from Glasgow, sparing the levee at Petersburg, John said. Depending on how large the breach is, it would take about 10 hours for water to reach the New Franklin area, John said. Residents should still be alert for changing conditions.
The New Franklin R-1 school district offered its facilities to anyone displaced by flooding, including parking lots and showers, according to a post on Facebook. Anyone looking for shelter can also call 660-248-2340 for help from EMA.
The Missouri River at Boonville is as high as its been since 1995, measuring at 33 feet Thursday morning. That’s inches below the level measured in May 1995, the second-highest ever recorded. The river was forecasted to remain around 33 feet through next Wednesday, but rain and upstream levee breaches could change that forecast. It is 4 feet below the crest of the historic 1993 flood, which reached 37.1 feet in Boonville in late July of 1993.
Water is completely covering the railroad tracks along the river in Boonville, and spilled into the northwest corner of the Isle of Capri Casino’s parking lot. Rural Street is closed. The river topped the levees near Wooldridge earlier in the week, flooding the town and low-lying farmland, said Cooper County EMA Director Larry Oerly.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also increased releases from Gavins Point Dam due to heavy rainfall in Nebraska and the Dakotas, and the releases are expected to stay at 75,000 cubic feet per second through the weekend, according to the Corps. Storms in west, central and northern Missouri have also pushed more water into the uncontrolled part of the Missouri River downstream of Gavins Point.