The levees in eastern Jackson County are holding, and the Missouri River has fallen -- a little. The river near Sibley and Levasy had dipped to 30.88 feet at 6:57 this morning, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Both the NWS and Army Corps of Engineers project the river will continue slowly dropping this week to just below 30 feet Friday. Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Curry is "cautiously optimistic," noting the river rose about two inches last week after NWS projections initially called for about a one foot drop in water levels.
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More information about the Missouri River flooding situation can be found on the Missouri State Emergency Management Team website at sema.dps.mo.gov.
CLICK HERE to view a map from the Missouri Department of Transportation indicating road closings in the state.
"My concern is that the Weather Service is also calling for between 2 and 3½ inches of rain along the Iowa and Nebraska border the next couple of days," said Curry. "If that's accurate, it's hard to see the river dropping over the next few days."
The Missouri River would have to fall significantly, Curry added, to stop it from backing into tributaries like Fire Prairie Creek, which has flooded more than 700 acres of farmland in eastern Jackson County. Currently, the flood waters are threatening no homes or businesses.
Barricades are in place on both Stock Road and Ripperger Road just north of Levasy.
"If you go around those barricades, you're going to drive into a lake," warned Curry.
According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Missouri River has fallen a few tenths of an inch throughout Montana, the Dakotas and Nebraska. However, the Corps will continue releasing water from the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, South Dakota, at the historically high rate of 160,000 cubic feet per second. The record water release is being done to relieve pressure on six reservoirs from Montana through South Dakota.
Army Corps of Engineers Graphic
Record run-off rates from the Rocky Mountains and rainfall in Montana and the Dakotas rapidly filled those reservoirs this spring.
Curry continues to make almost daily drives to Sibley, Levasy and into Lafayette County, where he can get an up-close view of the river at Army Corps of Engineers office near Napoleon.
"You can't get on our earthen levees because they are just saturated," he said. "At Napoleon, you can get a better view of the river. It is really moving."
CONTINUE READING: Missouri River Timeline
Friday, July 8, 2011
Unlike in 2007 when this photo was taken in Levasy, the Missouri River so far this summer has not topped the levees in eastern Jackson County. However, unlike in 2007, the Missouri River is expected to remain high and pose a flood threat this entire summer.
35.91 Feet July 29, 1993
35.58 Feet July 14, 1951
32.80 Feet May 8, 2007
32.60 Feet June 3, 1903
31.10 Feet July 7, 2011
SOURCE: National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
The levees near Sibley and Levasy in eastern Jackson County continued to hold back the Missouri River, despite water levels rising to beyond 31 feet. In a warning update issued Friday morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) anticipated "major flooding" in the Sibley and Levasy area as the river was expected to crest at around 31.2 feet Sunday, July 10, "then begin falling."
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Despite rising to 30.8 feet near Sibley and Levasy on Saturday, July 2, the Missouri River did not top the primary levees in eastern Jackson County this past weekend. The water level had dipped to 30.15 feet as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, but had crept up to 30.55 feet at 7:27 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service
Friday, July 1, 2011
The Missouri River was expected to be on the verge of topping the primary levees in eastern Jackson County as water levels continued to rise heading into the Independence Day weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) projected that the river would crest near Sibley and Levasy at 30.4 feet early Saturday, July 2, bringing the water level up to -- if not over -- the brim of the 30-foot levees.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
A levee breach near Atchison, Kansas was suspected of causing inaccurate measurements in gages at Atchison and Leavenworth, Kansas. Once more data could be reviewed, the National Weather Service anticipated that river-level projections for the Missouri River and the Kansas River would be revised "upward."
Monday, June 27, 2011
Thunderstorms that swept through the area Sunday night into Monday morning (June 26-27) had little impact on the Missouri River as it flows through eastern Jackson County. At 7:02 Monday morning, the water level near the Sibley and Levasy levees was at 26.8 feet, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Friday, June 24, 2011
The National Weather Service (NWS) did not anticipate the Missouri River's water level near Levasy and Sibley to rise Saturday, June 25. Due to levee breaches Thursday, June 23 in two northwest Missouri counties, river levels fell between Brownville, Nebraska and St. Joseph, Missouri, prompting the NWS to reduce its previous river level projections for June 25. However, the NWS noted any relief down stream from Atchison and Holt counties would only be temporary.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Jackson County officials have been anxiously monitoring conditions along the swollen Missouri River for weeks. Volunteers filled 6,000 sandbags in preparation for potential flooding. On the morning of June 20, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flood warning that included parts of Jackson County (near Sibley), as well as parts of Platte and Clay counties.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers recommends this booklet, published by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), to learn more about levees and how to prepare for flood threats. CLICK HERE to download the 17-page "So You Live Behind A Levee" guide.
In recent weeks, Jackson County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Curry has repeatedly expressed concern about the primary levees in the eastern part of the county having to hold back high water for a sustained period. Even if the Missouri River does not rise high enough to top those levees, Curry is worried they will become weakened and be at risk of breaching, which the ASCE describes as the following:
A levee breach occurs when part of a levee gives way, creating an opening through which floodwaters may pass. A breach may occur gradually or suddenly. The most dangerous breaches happen quickly during periods of high water. The resulting torrent can quickly swamp
a large area behind the failed levee with little or no warning.
Earthen levees can be damaged in several ways. For instance, strong river currents and waves can erode the surface. Debris and ice carried by floodwaters—and even
large objects such as boats or barges—can collide with and gouge the levee. Trees growing on a levee can blow over, leaving a hole where the root wad and soil used to be. Burrowing animals can create holes that enable water to pass through a levee. If severe enough, any of these situations can lead to a zone of weakness that could cause a levee breach.