River reached crest of 24.9 feet

Hannibal's five floodgates will be removed Monday, Oct. 29, according to John Hark, the city's emergency management director.

"As of next Monday they (floodgates) will have been in for three weeks,” Hark said Thursday. “It's time to get them out, get the riverfront cleaned up and get back to normal.”

The river reached a crest of 24.9 feet earlier this month, which ranks as the ninth highest in recorded history. As of Thursday morning, the river had receded to 20.5 feet.

Hark has more leeway when pulling the gates than when setting them.

"Setting them is one of those kinds of things, you just can't take much of a chance on. When it comes to removing them, if it shows it is definitely making a steady fall, then we can 'fudge' a little bit. That may be what we do this time," he said.

Significant October floods in Hannibal are rare. Prior to this year, there had only been two October floods that ranked in the top 50. A crest of 20.4 feet was seen Oct. 22, 1881. It ranked 44th all-time. On Oct. 4, 1986, a 25.3 flood crest was recorded, which was good for number eight all-time.

"When you think of floods you think of the latter part of March up to the end of July. But you have rare occasions when the Mississippi does what it wants to do," Hark said.

Having all five floodgates in during the recent Folklife Festival presented a minor inconvenience as motorists could not utilize the parking area east of the levee.

"If we had not had the floodgates in, we would've had water on Main Street, and there would've been no Folklife Festival,” Hark said. “I would say that is a win.”

Hark had not heard of any high water damage in the city.

“There was some cleanup in the armory for the parks department,” he said. “That was probably the biggest (flood-related) problem."



danny.henley@courierpost.com