Missouri River flooding prompts interstate to close north of Kansas City

Flooding in Parkville along Missouri River

Parks in low-lying areas of Parkville were flooded in March, 2019, as the Missouri River continued to swell.
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Parks in low-lying areas of Parkville were flooded in March, 2019, as the Missouri River continued to swell.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol tweeted Friday that Interstate 29 was closed at the 110 mile marker due to flood waters.

The U.S. Coast Guard says all traffic on the Missouri River from about 50 miles south of Omaha, Nebraska, downstream to St. Joseph, Missouri, has been shut down due to the river’s high water levels.

The order came Friday. The Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also requested all river vessel operators create as little wake as possible between St. Joseph downstream to Kansas City to minimize levee damage.

Officials say the restrictions will be lifted as soon as flooding conditions improve.

The restrictions come as the river reached moderate flood stage at nearly 32 feet on Friday at Omaha, where it’s expected to crest at nearly 34 feet on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The river is expected to crest at St. Joseph on Tuesday at just over 30 feet. Major flood stage at St. Joseph is 27 feet.

A flood warning has been issued for the Missouri River at Kansas City as well. The river was at 28 feet by 9 a.m. Friday, and expected to continue to rise to near 33.5 feet by Tuesday, according to the weather service. The flood stage at Kansas City is 32 feet.

Rain and snowmelt from a massive late-winter storm pushed streams and rivers out of their banks, saturated rural fields and swelled on city streets from Nebraska to Wisconsin, even threatening a nuclear power plant Friday, with the flooding expected to last into the weekend.

The high water pushed some waterways to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, though a cooler and drier forecast for the next two weeks suggested some possibility of relief for those states.

“The worst is past us now. Things are going to be improving quickly over the next couple of days,” said Mike Gillispie, National Weather Service hydrologist in Sioux Falls. “River levels should start dropping off really quickly.”

Flooding remained a concern in the lower Missouri River region, with the weather service issuing warnings along the river and its tributaries from southeastern South Dakota to St. Louis.

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