Minor flooding experienced around Mo.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ST. LOUIS -- In a year that has seen everything from floods to drought, ice storms to heat waves, one last round of weather woes should come as no surprise.

Weekend storms brought up to 2 inches of rain through much of Missouri. Combined with snow melt, that's causing minor flooding along some rivers, including the Mississippi. No significant damage is reported or expected.

"The ground was pretty frozen so everything was going right into the streams as runoff," National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell said.

By Monday, some areas were still under flood warnings. The Grand River reached more than 6 feet above flood stage in Chillicothe, and nearly 9 feet above flood stage in nearby Sumner, leaving several roads under water. By New Year's Day, the river should be back within its banks.

The Mississippi will crest slightly above flood stage by Wednesday in Hannibal and Clarksville. At Cape Girardeau, the Mississippi is expected to crest just below flood stage Friday. The National Weather Service predicts the river will reach 31.5 feet on the Cape Girardeau gauge by Friday morning, or about six inches below flood stage.

The predicted level at Cape Girardeau would be a rise of 17 feet since Sunday morning. The stage at 10 a.m. Monday was 22 feet.

Missouri has been hammered by extreme weather this year: January ice storms, spring floods and tornadoes, summer floods that rivaled 1993 levels and then late-summer droughts in some parts of the state.

Overall, it has been the wettest year on record, at least in St. Louis, where 57.96 inches of precipitation topped the old record of 54.97 inches in 1982. Sipprell said six months in 2008 saw top-10 rainfall amounts since the Weather Service began keeping records in 1870.

Storm cleanup

Cleanup continues after storms and tornadoes damaged several buildings Saturday.

No one was hurt, but a tornado in Ralls County near Hannibal caused roof and window damage at two apartment complexes. A billboard was shredded along U.S. 61 south of Hannibal. In Lincoln County near Troy, a tornado damaged a home and destroyed a barn. Debris from the barn was found a mile away.

In Southeast Missouri, strong winds ripped the roof of a home in Jackson. Highway 25 in Stoddard County was shut down for part of Saturday and Sunday after high winds blew down several utility poles between Dexter and Bernie. Three cars were trapped. No one was hurt, but about 1,100 customers lost power for a while.

The storms were part of a wildly fluctuating weather pattern that brought freezing rain early in the week and thunderstorms in the latter part. Highs early last week were in the single digits. By Saturday, highs were in the upper 60s and even lower 70s-- briefly.

"It was 67 Saturday morning and we had freezing rain and snow [Saturday] night," Hannibal emergency management director John Hark told the Hannibal Courier-Post.

Cape Girardeau emergency manager Mark Hasheider marveled at what his part of the state has been through this year.

"Looking back at weather events for the year, the high winds, snow, and ice -- we'd like the end of year to kind of go out quietly," he told the Southeast Missourian.

It appears he'll get his wish. Sipprell expects a relatively quiet and precipitation-free weather pattern over the next week. Highs should be in the 50s today, then seasonal into the weekend.

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