My first flood warning alert came over my cell phone this week. The Missouri River at Washington was expected to rise above flood stage to 23.1 feet by Sunday evening. Then there was the call from the mayor of the small town of Clarksville asking for volunteers to help sandbag to keep the Mississippi River from inundating their town.
Wet weather inundated the Midwest this week. Heavy rains in the state added to the heavy snow and rains in the northern states causing our state's two greatest rivers to spill over their banks.
Forecasters are predicting minor to moderate flooding in central and eastern Missouri as heavy rains cause the Missouri River to rise up to 15 feet.
The Missouri River is also expected to crest about 3 feet above flood stage in Glasgow and 5 feet above flood stage in Boonville. By Saturday afternoon, forecasters say the river will surpass flood stage by about 3.5 feet in Jefferson City and 8 feet in Chamois.
And finally, by Sunday morning, the river is expected to exceed the flood stage by about 8 feet in Hermann and about 5 feet in Washington.
Small but dangerous
It is the minor rivers and creeks in our rural counties that cause concern. Often times these waterways can come up quickly and catch residents off guard. Flash flooding is common.
Individuals try to cross roads that are covered; after all, they have traversed these roads for much of their lifetime. However, with each passing year, each passing flood, these roads can change.
Too often, I see photos on social media of teenagers trying to cross these high water areas. As parents, we need to teach are young drivers safe driving during the spring season. The Missouri Department of Transportation offers the following tips:
-Slow down, use caution, and don't use cruise control when driving in rain to avoid skidding and hydroplaning. Leave plenty of following distance.
-Never move or drive around barricades placed on roadways due to high water. Barricades are a warning designed to protect you from an unsafe condition. You can put yourself at serious risk if you proceed into a flooded section of road.
-If a road is closed, find another route.
-If a road is covered in floodwater but is not closed by a barricade, do NOT drive into the high water. Stop and turn around. Notify the police, sheriff or the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
-When windshield wipers are needed, turn on your headlights. It's the law.
-"Turn Around - Don't Drown" as highways become impassable.
Please drive safe!