Before the adjournment of Tuesday night’s Hannibal City Council meeting, City Manager Jeff LaGarce shared a weather advisory.
Before the adjournment of Tuesday night’s Hannibal City Council meeting, City Manager Jeff LaGarce shared a weather advisory. He reported that multiple rounds of severe storms had Hannibal in their crosshairs, featuring large hail and winds of up to 86 mph.
Was America’s Hometown in store for a repeat of May 20, 2013?
Andy Dorian, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, said with a smile that if a storm comparable to last May’s blew through town he had a letter of resignation all ready to submit, no doubt not wanting to endure again the months of cleanup in city parks after last May’s severe storm.
When the sun rose Wednesday, Dorian still worked for the city and John Hark, emergency management director for the city and Marion County, was heaving a sigh of relief.
“At first we were going to be in the middle of it and then we were on the edge of it. Thankfully we stayed on the edge,” he said, adding that Hannibal “got by by the grace of God.”
Hannibal’s good fortune was shared by Marion County as a whole.
“I talked to 911 and the sheriff’s office and I think there was one tree down,” said Hark. “A couple of county roads had water on them last night.”
Following substantial rains to the north, Hark was monitoring the North River, South Fabius and North Fabius rivers.
“They’re rising quickly,” he said. “A couple may spill out of their banks into agriculture areas, but I don’t foresee any homes flooding.”
The Mississippi River will likely rise, too, according to Hark.
“Fortunately it had dropped enough that it can handle it (runoff),” he said.
As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, the Mississippi River in Hannibal stood at 15.5 feet. The National Weather Service (NWS) was forecasting a jump to 16.9 feet today (Thursday), followed by a steady retreat on Friday (16.6) and Saturday (16.1).
According to the NWS, Hannibal had picked up 2.58 inches of rain through 7:15 a.m. Wednesday. The largest amount of precipitation fell overnight in Edina where 4.51 inches was recorded. Elsewhere in Northeast Missouri overnight rainfall amounts were: Steffenville, 3.57; Canton, 2.95; Saverton, 2.78; Monroe City, 2.20; Bowling Green, 1.72; Shelbina, 1.70; Louisiana, 1.48; Clarksville, 1.40; Clarence Cannon Dam, 1.26; and Vandalia, 0.76.
The NWS reported the thunderstorms weakened Wednesday as they pushed across the Midwest, causing some flash-flooding and minor wind damage in parts of southern Illinois and eastern Missouri.
Widespread heavy rain slowed the commute for thousands of people in metro St. Louis and winds bowled over trees in the central part of Missouri, snapping electricity lines and leaving thousands without power.
That was a far less severe battering than earlier in the storms' track, when baseball-sized hail blasted homes and cars, and flooding forced rescuers in boats to pull residents from homes in Nebraska and Iowa.
The storms also affected primary elections Tuesday in Iowa and South Dakota where voters had to cast ballots by flashlight in areas that lost power.
By Wednesday morning, the crescent-shaped arc of thunderstorms weakened, though winds of up to 75 mph were reported in Columbia, Mo., with heavy rain and dime-sized hail.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)