Mississippi River to crest lower than previously expected in Cairo

It was the announcement that brought relief to many southeast Missouri farmers. "What I know right now is that I don’t anticipate operating the floodway," said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Major General Michael Wehr.

He, along with other members of the Corps, updated the public about current and projected Mississippi River levels. The lower than anticipated crest in Cairo, Illinois, means farmers will not experience what happened in 2011.

Milus Wallace’s 2,000 acres of farmland were destroyed by floodwaters in 2011. "All of it was. Plus my house, tool shed and grain bins," Wallace told Local 6.

Unlike almost five years ago, he now knows the Corps doesn’t plan to activate the floodway. "They are doing a good job, kind of controlling it better than they was in 2011," he said. 

Maj. Gen. Wehr said that, although southeast Missouri may be out of the clear now, it doesn’t mean there won’t be future flooding. We aren’t even in the height of flood season. "Normally, high waters occur in the springtime. So we are well ahead of anything normal," he said.

It’s that uncertainty for what could happen that has Wallace and others still skeptical about the next few months. "Everybody is kind of nervous on the aspect of not knowing what it might do later on," Wallace said. 

The original forecast at the Cairo gauge was 59 feet. The Corps now believes river levels will crest at 57.5 feet.

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