The National Weather Service has posted a flood warning for the Missouri River at Sibley through March 26 – one of many along and north of the big river as waters are expected to rise for several days.
The minor flood stage at Sibley is 22 feet, meaning low-lying areas near the river and areas not behind a levee will flood. The river reached 23.4 feet Thursday morning and is expected to reach 28.7 feet by next Wednesday – just below the “moderate” flood stage of 29 feet – and stay above flood stage at least through March 25.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday said heavy runoff from rain and melting snow is raising river levels and that it has a “high concern” that the Missouri River will come over the tops of non-federal levees from Rulo, Neb. – across from the northwest corner of Missouri – all the way downstream to Kansas City. Federal levees tend to be higher than others, and the Corps of Engineers said the river isn’t expected to come over them but that it’s watching the situation closely.
In particular, heavy rain and runoff above the Gavins Point Dam at Yankton, South Dakota have forced the Corps of Engineers to increase the amount of water released there. It takes three or four days for water to make its way from Gavins Point to Kansas City, the Corps of Engineers says.
The Missouri is also at flood stage and expected to reach “major” flooding this weekend at Rulo, St. Joseph, Mo., and Atchison, Kan. Farther downstream, Leavenworth, Kan., and Parkville are expected to crest below major flood stage.
No warnings are up for Kansas City itself. The river valley is generally much wider and deeper downstream from the confluence with the Kansas River.
The Little Blue River in Eastern Jackson County is controlled by dams, and no warnings were posted as of Thursday.
The Weather Service also has other flood warnings, including:
• The Platte River, well above flood stage at Agency in Buchanan County and at Sharps Station and Platte City in Platte County. The Platte flows into the Missouri.
• The Grand River in Livingston, Davies, Linn, Carroll and Chariton counties. The Grand flows into the Missouri.
• The Missouri River on downstream from Sibley at Waverly, Miami, Glasgow and Boonville.
With flood advisories, the Weather Service posts this warning: “Do not drive through flowing water. Nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related. As little as 6 inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Two feet of water will carry most vehicles away.”