A little over a week after the Hannibal flood gates were taken out, they will be re-installed.
John Hark, emergency management director for Hannibal, announced Tuesday afternoon that all five flood gates will be set in place Friday morning. That decision was made in advance of an anticipated rapid river rise over the next few days.
"Iowa for the last three days has had rain. Right now at 5 p.m. we're setting at 16 feet flat. That's today, the 25th. By Tuesday, July 2, a week from today, they're forecasting 22.7. That's almost a 7-foot rise in a week. That averages out to almost a foot a day," said Hark.
The river won't look too intimidating when the gates are installed.
"Friday I'm going to be looking at 18.7 feet, but my problem is by Sunday I'm going to be looking at 21.1 feet, so it's that rise Saturday and Sunday that is creating the problem for me. That's the reason I've got to set them all on Friday because I can't wait until Monday, otherwise I'll have water coming in everywhere," said Hark.
Waiting until the weekend to put the gates in would make the process even more expensive.
"I've got to get them in before quitting time on Friday otherwise we'd wind up on a weekend paying overtime," said Hark. "Being as sensible and frugal as I can be with city funding the thing to do is put them in and be prepared."
The 10-day period for having the gates out is not the quickest turnaround this year. In late May, only six days after they were removed, the gates had to be put in place after the river was forecast to reach 24.5 feet.
When a crest prediction of 20.5 feet or more is forecast, the floodgates on Hill and Center streets must be installed. The remaining three gates - two on Broadway and one on South Main - are placed when the crest is forecast at 21.5 or more.
In the past two months, Hannibal has seen crests of over 21 feet - 21.02 (May 5), 22.15 (June 7), 25.53 (June 1) and 27.63 (April 21).
"It's caused me a considerable amount of grief this year," said Hark of the Mississippi.
Complicating the planned setting of the flood gates is that it will happen just before a holiday.
"It's the Fourth of July and I know people like to watch the fireworks from the river. That's not going to be as easily done this year and I regret that for those folks, but my job is to make sure the city is high and dry so the Fourth of July can go on in downtown Hannibal, and that's what I'm going to do," said Hark.