USACE controlling rising river waters

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is keeping an eye on the rising rivers in our area. They initiated Phase II of floodfight efforts Monday morning in Charleston, Missouri, and Cairo, Illinois.

Crews were out monitoring river levels and checking for cracks or leaks along the flood wall in Cairo. Monday afternoon, the water was around 2 feet above flood stage, which is 40 feet.

Structural Engineer Mike Watson says that’s not an immediate concern. So, they’re also using this time to train new employees to be prepared for when an emergency hits.

“Trying to anticipate problems because when something happens when you’ve got pressure against levees and flood walls things can happen very fast,” Watson said.

He said for every 10 feet of water, you’ve got 600 pounds of pressure against the wall or levee.

“The loads are massive, so when something goes wrong, it goes wrong fast,” Watson said.

They’re also using this time to meet community members.

“Face time with the locals is really important because they need to be comfortable with you and be able to come up and ask you for help,” Watson said.

USACE s should be in Cairo until Wednesday. The river is expected to crest Saturday about 5.5 feet above flood stage. The city only closes the floodgates when it gets more than 9 feet above flood stage.

In 2011, the water levels rose to an all-time high of about 61 feet.

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