Damage estimates are getting under way after storms that prompted intense area flooding and at least eight deaths in Missouri. Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and the National Weather Service issued flood and flash flood warnings. The Mississippi River is expected to crest Wednesday, Dec. 30, six to seven feet above flood stage at Louisiana and Clarksville. If the predictions hold, the flood would be the ninth-worst in history for the two communities. The Illinois River at Hardin could reach its third-highest level ever if the crest that’s forecast on Thursday, Dec. 31, comes true. Clarksville put up concrete and plastic barriers Monday to protect businesses along Front Street as a precaution, but was not planning to sandbag. Motorists were forced to detour around a water-logged section of Highway 79 on the south side of Louisiana. Flooding had closed Highway 161 east of Middletown and Highway 154 north of Vandalia. High water also kept drivers off one letter route in Pike County, seven in Montgomery County and six in Lincoln County. Three gravel roads in Pike County were impassable, but access to homes was not cut off. Although the county is still awaiting $400,000 in federal reimbursements from flooding earlier in 2015, officials say the latest round of high water should not drastically affect the budget. Pike County will finish 2015 at least four inches above its average yearly precipitation level.
Downtown Hannibal will become a family-friendly haunted haven of activities, attractions and celebrations during the Haunted Hannibal Festival on Friday, Oct. 25, Saturday, Oct. 26 and Thursday, Oct. 31