Jefferson County officials say they are ready to deal with flooding from the Mississippi and Meramec rivers.
“We are continually watching these river levels,” said Warren Robinson, Jefferson County Emergency Management director. “We are helping our partners in the municipalities with the resources from the state with their flood fights.”
The Mississippi River is predicted to crest at 46 feet on Thursday (June 6), and the Meramec River is projected to rise to 42 feet by 1 a.m. Thursday and remain at that level before cresting at about 7 p.m. Friday (June 7), according to the National Weather Service’s website.
Robinson said today (June 3) that five to six homes around the county had been impacted by flooding.
In addition, several commercial properties on Hwy. M were affected by floodwater, he said.
Robinson said 20 to 30 properties in unincorporated Jefferson County could be flooded when the Meramec River reaches 42 feet.
“All the flooding on the Meramec is currently being driven by backflow from the Mississippi and the impact hasn’t been nearly as extreme to this point,” he said.
The Rock Community Fire Protection District was called at about 5:15 p.m. Sunday (June 2) to help a man and woman get out of their home in the 6000 of Mississippi Street in Kimmswick, Assistant Chief Kevin Wingbermuehle reported.
The two residents were not injured, and their extraction was for precautionary reasons. They will stay at a relative’s home until floodwater recedes, Wingbermuehle said.
The primary areas the Office of Emergency Management is monitoring, Robinson said, are the Hwy. 141 corridor and Hwy. M, east of I-55.
He said the office has coordinated the delivery of 37,000 sandbags and 20 rolls of plastic sheeting to municipalities and fire districts and departments.
Numerous roads have closed because of flooding since the start of May, and according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, the following roads were closed today:
■ Missouri State Road approximately a half mile south of Dutch Bottom Road in the Arnold area.
■ A portion of Dutch Bottom Road in the Arnold area.
■ Missouri State Road at Lakemont Drive in the Arnold area.
■ Romaine Creek Road at Caleb Crossing in the Fenton area.
■ Romaine Creek Road at Schneider Drive in the Fenton area.
■ Seckman Road at the West Outer Road in Imperial.
■ Hwy. 61-67 at Sulphur Springs Road in Imperial.
■ Hwy. 61-67 at Imperial Main Street in Imperial.
■ Hwy. K at Hwy. 61-67 in Imperial.
■ River Street at Hwy. K in Imperial.
■ Myrtlewood Drive at Hwy. K in Imperial.
■ Hwy. K at Fifth Street in Kimmswick.
■ Front Street at Mill Street in Kimmswick.
■ Hwy. M at Barnhart Hills in Barnhart.
■ Hwy. 61-67 at Patricia Drive in Barnhart.
■ 1400 block McNutt School Road in the Herculaneum area.
■ Horine Road at Walnut Court in the Herculaneum area.
In addition, the following roads in unincorporated Fenton were closed in the Saline Valley Fire Protection District, Chief Bob Dunn said today:
■ Romaine Creek Road at Hwy. 141.
■ Old Hwy. 141 at Romaine Creek Road and Hwy. 141; the flood gate is open at the end of East view.
■ South Old Hwy. 141 at the Shell gas station.
■ Schneider Road at Romaine Creek Road.
■ Allen Road.
“We are monitoring the water levels every 12 hours,” Dunn said.
Robinson said “current forecasts do not suggest any additional major road closures.”
However, he said, Jefferson County residents should continue to watch the river levels as more rain could raise the anticipated crest levels and could cause more road closures and flooding throughout the county.
“As saturated as the soil is right now, it looks like the rivers are going to stay up for some time,” Robinson said. “Everyone just needs to be prepared in case the numbers do increase, and if they have to cross major waterways, they should have alternate routes in mind. And never try to cross flooded roads. ‘Turn around, don’t drown,’ as the saying goes.”
If the Mississippi River crests at 46 feet, it will be the second highest level since records have been kept.
The record crest occurred Aug. 1, 1993, when the river reached 49.58 feet. The previous second-highest recorded crest was on April 28, 1973, at 43.23 feet.
If the Meramec River crests at 42 feet, it will be the fifth highest level since records have been kept.
The river reached 47.26 feet Dec. 31, 2015, and 45.62 feet on May 3, 2017. On Aug. 1, 1993, the river rose to 45.3 feet, and it was at 43.9 feet on Dec. 6, 1992.
Arnold July 4th celebration in jeopardy
The city of Arnold likely will have to cancel its Independence Day Celebration scheduled for 4-11 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at Arnold City Park because of flooding, City Administrator Bryan Richison said.
The park, which is located off Jeffco Boulevard near the Meramec River, has been closed since May 3 because of flooding.
“Something dramatic would have to change for us to have it,” Richison said. “The water is just not going to get out quick enough.”
Richison said city officials planned this week to discuss whether the event should be canceled. He said there is not another location in the city where the event can be held.
Because of the rising water, Arnold opened an Emergency Operations Center May 30 to help residents deal with flooding from the Meramec River.
The center operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and likely will remain open as long as floodwaters remain high enough to affect homes, Richison said.
The center may be reached by calling 636-282-6678. Those who need to contact the center after 5 p.m. may call the Arnold Police Department at 636-296-3204.
Richison said today that the center had not received many calls since it opened May 30.
“It was a very quiet weekend,” Richison said of Saturday and Sunday. “We delivered four loads of sand, one on (Saturday) and three on (Sunday).
“I think for most people the water is still far away from their homes. I think as it gets closer, we will get more requests. Right now, I think it is still pretty far away.”
Richison said about 20-30 homes may be affected by flooding by the time the Meramec River crests, with some of those in the Starling Estates subdivision off Starling Airport Road, some in the Pleasant Valley subdivision off Jeffco Boulevard and others scattered around the city.
Richison said the city has 800 tons of sand to distribute.
The roads in Arnold City Park, which is off Jeffco Boulevard near the Meramec River, have been closed since May 3 because of flooding. The Arnold Golf Club, 1 Golfview Drive, also has seen flooding, and the majority of holes have been closed since the start of the month.
Flooding has kept the Arnold Farmers Market from operating at its regular home at the front of Arnold City Park this year, and that is expected to continue for several weeks, city officials reported.
The market, which is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Oct. 19, is instead being held at the Arnold Recreation Center, 1695 Missouri State Road, where it has been held since it opened for the season May 4.
“The good news is the market area is one of the first areas to dry when the water recedes, but we have no idea what will be left behind and how long it will take to clean,” Richison said.
“It has not been terrible for us,” Farmers Market manager Teresa Kohut said. “I think it is even better now that we are on the upper parking lot near the rec center so people coming in and out see it.”
Kohut said some visitors to the market have commented that Arnold should always hold the market in a rec center parking lot.
“I think they like it so much because it is very available to them, and I think some people don’t know how awesome the Farmers Market is,” Kohut said. “Now that they have been able to see it, they are like, ‘I want to come every week.’”
Kohut said parking has not been a problem for those visiting the market or the rec center over the past few weeks.
“The market is located on the uppermost lot, and most people like to park on the first or second level,” Kohut said. “We also have some swim lessons at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., and they are coming to the market because it is here.”
Kohut said she is happy the market has been going well at the rec center, but she wants to see it return to its regular home.
“We can’t wait to be back at Arnold City Park,” Kohut said. “It is such an idyllic, pleasant setting by the trees and river. It is beautiful and a shame it is underwater right now.”