By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
A prediction of moderate flooding along the Missouri River has given way to fears of major flooding this weekend.
The National Weather Service elevated its flood forecast this morning from moderate to major severity for the Missouri at St. Joseph as well as at Atchison and Leavenworth, Kansas.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Gitro says a strong storm system is moving over the area the next couple of days.
“Compounding the rainfall is the fact that we have quite a bit of snow melt occurring up north, up across Nebraska, the Dakotas, etcetera, and a lot of that water is going to be flowing downstream along the main stem of the Missouri River in the St. Joseph area,” according to Gitro.
The Weather Service expects the Missouri to rise above its flood stage of 17 feet by Wednesday morning with the possibility of the river reaching 28 feet early next week.
Gitro says this flooding could last a while.
“That’s what it’s looking like right now,” Gitro says. “This river flood warning will probably be in effect for a fair amount of time as all that water upstream, up across the Plains, flows downstream and then we continue to deal with the effects of the precipitation that we’re expecting this week as well.”
NWS says lowland flooding upstream and downstream from St. Joseph occurs when the Missouri River rises to 17 feet, its official flood stage. Backwater from the Missouri will flood property along the Nodaway River when the river reaches 19 feet. Riverfront Park in St. Joseph floods at 21 feet with the northwestern residential area of St. Joseph flooding at 24 feet.
NWS expects the Missouri River to crest at just below 26 feet Friday morning, but to rise again to a second create of 28.6 feet early Tuesday afternoon.