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2015-2016 Flood: What We Know So Far

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

 

 

Mississippi River at Thebes, Illinois
Credit The National Weather Service
Mississippi River at Thebes, Illinois

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.”

Jimmie Monahan, pastor of the Apostolic Church of Thebes Illinois, stands on the steps of his church as flood water rose on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.
Credit (Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU)
Jimmie Monahan, pastor of the Apostolic Church of Thebes Illinois, stands on the steps of his church as flood water rose on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

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 wallsaround Cairo received a lot of damage. Frank Blakemorefrom Alexander County Emergency Management said Cairo’s levees are holding up.

“They are holding,”Blakemoresaid. “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.

Footage captured by the Illinois State Police of the levee breach west of Miller City in Alexander County
Credit Illinois State Police
Footage captured by the Illinois State Police of the levee breach west of Miller City in Alexander County

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. BruceRaunerdeclared a state of emergency as a result of the recent floods.Gov. Nixon, who declared a state of emergency on Dec. 27, 2015, urged Missouriansto 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 milesbeforeRT V S, ends 3.13 milesbeforeRT V S.

      • Closed Since: 12/31/2015

    • State Route 25

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

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route 74

      • Flooding reported beginning .58 milesafterIS 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 milesafterMO 74 E.

      • Closed Since: 12/29/2015

    • State Route A

      • Flooding reported beginning .12 milesafterIS 55N, ends 3.81 milesafterIS 55 N

      • Closed Since: 12/31/2015

    • Ramp IS 55N to  MO 74 E

      • Flooding reported beginning .03 milesafterIS 55 N, ends .02 milesbeforeMO 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 milesbeforeMO 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 hereto 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

 Don’t see your county listed? Click hereto 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.

  • SEMO Red Cross– local phone: (573) 335-9471 shelter map

  • – Dial 211 or 1-800-385-6525

  • – local phone: (573) 335-7000

  • – local phone: (573) 335-0134

  • Osage Centre - Primarily for flood evacuees local phone: (573)-335-9471

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Water levels were so high that even the "house on stilts" flooded in Thebes, Illlinois on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
Water levels were so high that even the "house on stilts" flooded in Thebes, Illlinois on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

The Apostolic Church of Thebes, Illinois stands as flood waters fill its basement on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
The Apostolic Church of Thebes, Illinois stands as flood waters fill its basement on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

Jimmie Monahan, pastor of the Apostolic Church of Thebes Illinois, stands on the steps of his church as flood water rose on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
Jimmie Monahan, pastor of the Apostolic Church of Thebes Illinois, stands on the steps of his church as flood water rose on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

A nearby playground and building were flooded in Thebes, Illinois on Wednesday on Dec. 30, 2015.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
A nearby playground and building were flooded in Thebes, Illinois on Wednesday on Dec. 30, 2015.

A hunting club building surrounded by a sandbag barricade as flood waters slowly creep up on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
A hunting club building surrounded by a sandbag barricade as flood waters slowly creep up on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

A flooded Olive Branch, Illinois home on Friday, Jan. 1,2016.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
A flooded Olive Branch, Illinois home on Friday, Jan. 1,2016.

A shed surrounded by flood waters in Olive Branch, Illinois on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
A shed surrounded by flood waters in Olive Branch, Illinois on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

A flooded home in Olive Branch, Illinois on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
A flooded home in Olive Branch, Illinois on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

Community members in Olive Branch, Illinois barricade a neighbors home with sandbags to protect it from flood waters on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
Community members in Olive Branch, Illinois barricade a neighbors home with sandbags to protect it from flood waters on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

Michael Whalen, a resident of Thebes, helps community members in Olive Branch, Illinois build sandbag barricades to protect their homes from flood waters on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU /
Michael Whalen, a resident of Thebes, helps community members in Olive Branch, Illinois build sandbag barricades to protect their homes from flood waters on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

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