Even though the Mississippi River in Hannibal had fallen from its 25.53 foot crest of Saturday morning, it was still high enough to impress veteran river watchers Monday morning.
“That’s a lot of water,” noted Harold Robertson of Hannibal as he reached the top of the flood wall steps on Broadway. “It’s really muddy.”
“Oh my land, look at that,” said Linda Mosley of Hannibal as she caught her first glimpse.
Mosley added that it is strange to not see the Bubba’s building surrounded by water. The structure was torn down earlier this year.
The high water brought back memories of past floods to onlookers.
“I can remember when flood waters reached the top basement step in the Famous store,” said Laura Robertson.
Mosley recalled a flood in the pre-flood wall early ‘60s when she worked for an attorney, whose offices were located in the third floor of a downtown bank building.
“We came to work in a boat, which dropped us off at a side door. We went up steps from there,” she said.
Downtown Hannibal, west and north of the flood wall, was dry Monday. Even areas south of the flood wall had seen the brown water recede.
At Clemens Field, the diamond was being prepped Monday morning for that night’s game between the Hannibal Cavemen and Quincy Gems.
“Don’t worry about the water,” said John Civitate of the Cavemen. “The field looks great.”
Aside from having to relocate the concessions area and how fans would enter the ballpark, things were pretty much business as usual.
“Parking will be fine. We’ve only lost a few parking places and they may be dry by the ball game because the river is going down quite fast,” said Civitate.
In fact, the river was retreating quicker than anticipated, according to John Hark, director of emergency management in Hannibal and Marion County.
“I’m surprised it is dropping that fast,” Hark said late Sunday. “That is way off” what the National Weather Service (NWS) had forecast, which was a crest of “around 26 feet and to stay there almost a week.” As of Monday afternoon, the river in Hannibal had dropped almost 2.5 feet since the weekend crest.
After falling to 23.1 feet Monday evening, the NWS was predicting a follow-up crest of 23.6 feet on Thursday afternoon. There is a chance of thunderstorms Tuesday night, Wednesday and Wednesday night in Northeast Missouri.
Page 2 of 2 - The river had fallen low enough that the Champ Clark Bridge in Louisiana and Missouri 79 south of Hannibal were both reopened to traffic on Sunday.
This past weekend’s crest marked the third time this spring that the Mississippi River had gone over 21 feet in Hannibal. It reached 27.63 feet on April 21, making it the No. 4 flood since records have been kept. It was surpassed by only floods in 1993 (31.8 feet), 2008 (29.54 feet) and 1973 (28.59 feet).
The river also went to 21.02 feet on May 5.
(Courier-Post reporter Beverly Darr contributed to this story.)