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f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Low river stage at 6.6 feet

Posted Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 12:00 AM

Jan. 13, 1961 Southeast Missourian

This picture of the Mississippi River at the foot of Themis Street doesn't indicate need of the flood wall shown at the top, with the Themis Street opening at the left and the Broadway one at the extreme right. The reason is the low stage of the river which today was 6.6 feet, the second lowest point in 40 years. Lee L. Albert, the river observer, checking his records, which go back to 1921, found one lower reading, that of 5.9 feet on Dec. 26, 1959. By comparison, the river reached 42.4 feet on May 27, 1943, and back on July 4, 1844, attained a mark of 42.31. (G.D. Fronabarger photo)

Excerpt from Southeast Missourian June 18, 1964:

Construction of the flood control system began in 1956 and ended in 1964 at a cost of more than $4 million. The system is made up mostly of concrete wall -- 6,210 feet of it bending to conform to the shape of the riverfront -- supported on the north flank by 1,000 feet of dirt levee.

Engineers estimate it would take a flood stage of about 55 feet to top the wall that stands 17 to 20 feet in height. That stage is about 12 feet above any recorded flood here and about a foot above the theoretical maximum stage of water at Cape Girardeau, it was reported.

Cape Girardeau's riverfront flood protection system was dedicated Oct. 22, 1964.

The Mississippi River reached its highest crest at Cape Girardeau of 48.86 feet on Jan. 1, 2016.

Previous blogs:

River floodwall 1960

VIDEO: River Floods: Frony speaks


Here is the National Weather Service list of low water records for the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau:

(1) 0.60 ft on 01/15/1909

(2) 0.80 ft on 02/01/1902

(3) 1.00 ft on 12/27/1897

(4) 1.60 ft on 01/01/1918

(5) 1.60 ft on 01/07/1911

(6) 1.80 ft on 12/28/1914

(7) 1.90 ft on 12/15/1917

(8) 2.00 ft on 12/20/1901

(9) 2.30 ft on 12/19/1932

(10) 2.40 ft on 02/04/1900

(11) 2.70 ft on 01/22/1940

(12) 2.70 ft on 12/23/1996

(13) 2.80 ft on 12/16/1898

(14) 2.90 ft on 12/31/1963

(15) 4.68 ft on 07/13/1988

(16) 6.07 ft on 11/09/2006

(17) 6.09 ft on 08/14/2005

(18) 6.23 ft on 08/06/2006

(19) 6.59 ft on 08/28/2012

(20) 6.83 ft on 09/10/2005

(21) 7.12 ft on 01/28/2000

(22) 7.19 ft on 10/16/2006

(23) 12.40 ft on 05/21/2000


The Mississippi River reached its highest crest at Cape Girardeau of 48.86 feet on Jan. 1, 2016. Here is a list of previous historic river crests at Cape Girardeau:

(1) 48.49 ft on 08/08/1993

(2) 47.00 ft on 05/24/1995

(3) 46.90 ft on 08/03/1993

(4) 46.28 ft on 05/03/2011

(5) 45.70 ft on 05/18/2002

(6) 45.50 ft on 05/01/1973

(7) 45.35 ft on 04/29/2011

(8) 44.53 ft on 06/07/2013

(9) 44.10 ft on 04/17/1979

(10) 43.08 ft on 07/03/2015

(11) 42.40 ft on 05/27/1943

(12) 42.35 ft on 07/03/2008

(13) 41.90 ft on 07/05/1947

(14) 41.37 ft on 06/24/2008

(15) 41.04 ft on 03/24/2008

(16) 40.60 ft on 05/17/1996

(17) 40.06 ft on 09/21/2008

(18) 39.57 ft on 03/03/1997

(19) 39.46 ft on 05/22/2010

(20) 39.10 ft on 04/20/1998

(21) 39.07 ft on 11/04/2009

(22) 38.89 ft on 05/23/2009

(23) 38.50 ft on 06/12/2001

(24) 38.40 ft on 03/29/1978

(25) 37.80 ft on 05/10/1999

(26) 35.93 ft on 01/08/2005

(27) 34.84 ft on 07/13/2014

(28) 34.02 ft on 05/31/2004

(29) 33.99 ft on 05/14/2007

(30) 33.26 ft on 05/14/2003

(31) 32.00 ft on 06/30/2000

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  • A footnote to the 1844 flood, there were no levees so the River flowed across where McClure and East Cape are at now. The flow was estimated at almost twice what the 1993 flood carried.

    -- Posted by jimblakemore2 on Sat, Jan 16, 2016, at 7:42 AM