Heavy Flooding Forces Midwest Towns To Evacuate

A relentless rainy season has forced the evacuation of several towns along the Mississippi River.

The rising river broke several levees north of St. Louis on Tuesday, forcing the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings and flash flood watches.

In preparation of the river’s rise, St. Louis thankfully had closed its floodgates prior to the river cresting there.

Small Town Swamping

In St. Charles County, Missouri, officials ordered the evacuation of the town of West Alton, where the Mississippi River’s crest reached as high as 35.5 feet yesterday. As of Monday, several roads in the country stayed closed due to the flooding.

At the nearby Sand Fort Creek levee, local news footage showed the rising tide breaking through, swamping an RV and boat storage park. Locals were worried about the effect of oil seeping out from the vehicles and into the water.

Several counties in Missouri also had their levees topped, causing farmland to be turned into wetlands. Other small communities in the river’s path have taken preparation by filling sandbags and pre-packing their belongings in case of the need to evacuate quickly.

In many places, the river crests have set record marks, even exceeding those from the “Great Flood of 1993”.  (A river crest is simply when the river reaches its highest point during a “hydrologic event”, such as a flood or rainstorm).

No End In Sight

Meteorologists say that even more rain is on its way to the affected areas.

A low-pressure system is predicted to move into the Great Plains, continuing to bring even more showers to the region. This could also bring additional flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, particularly in parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska that have already taken heavy damage.

Casualty Toll So Far

Hundreds if not thousands have already been displaced from their homes due to the relentless rain, and many river communities have been at flood level for more than a month and a half. Experts say the flooding could continue well into June, undoubtedly displacing many more and racking up more millions in property damages.

Since March, the flooding has also been deemed responsible for at least seven deaths.