After being predicted to crest at 28.4 on Sunday, April 21, the Mississippi River crest at Hannibal was later forecast a little lower, at 28.1 feet, according to John Hark, Hannibal and Marion County director of emergency management.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20, the river level at Hannibal was over 27 feet, Hark said. “The river is leveling off at Canton,” Hark said Saturday, so it could crest in Hannibal between early morning and noon on Sunday. All five flood gates have been installed in Hannibal’s flood wall.
Several streets in the area of Bear Creek are affected, where back water causes street closures.
On Friday Hark warned motorists who had been driving through flooded streets that they should stop or be subject to arrest.
On Saturday he added, “we have shut down more roads” and advised motorists to stay off the flooded streets. “If you drive in water over roads, it’s a good way to drown. If you see a barricade, don’t go around it. Turn around and go back.”
Many Hannibalians were gathering on the flood wall Saturday afternoon to see how high the water was rising. They found it was still several feet below the top of the flood wall, but all riverfront areas were flooded, including the parks and two railroad tracks.
Among the people taking pictures was Dean Willis, who explained he works at Printex, where the water was two feet deep on the first floor on Friday. It came in fast after lunch on Friday, he said. “We were still operating on the second floor,” Willis added, and the loading dock is on that level.
Hannibal’s Mark Twain Memorial Bridge is high above the water and will remain open, but two area Mississippi bridges have been closed by high water on bridge approaches.
They are the eastbound Memorial Bridge at Quincy, Ill., and Champ Clark Bridge on U.S. 54 at Louisiana, Mo. In Quincy, two-way traffic is continuing on the normally westbound Bayview Bridge.
Some portions of state Highway 79, including one area just south of Hannibal, also have been closed by water over the road. Traffic signs in Hannibal and elsewhere have been installed to detour the traffic.
Road closures in Missouri are listed on the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Traveler Information Map at www.modot.org. Details also are available by calling (888) ASK MODOT (888-275-6636).
A “seen on scene” photo gallery of the high water will be posted on hannibal.net.