Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau expected to continue to rise
On Friday, the river crested at about 44 feet, which was 12 feet above flood stage. The river is expected to crest to nearly 47 feet by Friday, June 7, which would tie for the third highest crest on ever. The record crest of 48.9 feet happened in 2016.
Public Works Director Stan Polivick said the flood wall, which spans 8,200 feet, as well as the adjacent earthen levee, are holding strong. Crews have been inspecting the flood wall once a day. But starting Saturday, there will be two inspections daily. And when the river crests to 46 feet, crews will inspect the wall four times a day, Polivick said.
Even if the river does crest to 47 feet, Polivick does not expect it to cause problems, because both the flood wall and the earthen levee are 54 feet high.
“Certainly, there’s potential. But so far, the flood wall and levee system is performing well. The pump stations are all in good operational status,” said Polivick.
One part of town that is flooded is the Red Star neighborhood. But there are no homes there, because the city bought them out through the FEMA process beginning in the mid-90s due to the flood risk. There are some houses near the flooded area, but the water has not reached them.
Some roads in the Red Star area, as well as Aquamsi Street near River Campus, are blocked off. But currently, there are no homes or businesses in Cape Girardeau that are flooded due to the river, said Polivick.
Although the Mississippi is not expected to cause major issues, even if it approaches a crest of 47 feet, the Cape Girardeau Fire Department and other area agencies are prepared.
“All of our personnel are trained and ready to go for a swift water rescue,” said Brad Dillow, assistant chief of the Cape Girardeau Fire Department. “Our HSR Team, Homeland Security Response Team for Region E, is always ready. We have our inflatable boats aired up, ready to go right now. We do have backup boats that we keep and we are airing them up (Saturday).”
There was some flooding in the downtown area of Cape Girardeau near the floodwall Wednesday night. That was due to three-quarters of an inch of rain coming down within half an hour, which was too fast for the pumping stations to keep up, Polivick explained.
“Thankfully, it only rained about 30 minutes. And once it quit, 10 minutes later, the streets were dry again,” said Polivick.
Polivick added that intense downpours like that don’t happen often.