A projected flood crest in Hannibal of 29 feet has been scaled back to 28.4 feet by the National Weather Service's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
"Any time they drop it (a flood crest) two-tenths of a foot, or even one-tenth, it tickles me to death. They have dropped it six-tenths of a foot, so that is great news," said John Hark, Hannibal's emergency management director.
A predicted crest of 28.8 feet earlier this week prompted the city to begin the process of raising the downtown levee and floodgates by 2.5 to 3 feet. On Thursday the forecasted crest in Hannibal was raised to 29 feet, before being lowered Friday.
The arrival of the crest has also changed. Instead of Saturday afternoon the Mississippi River will now peak Friday evening.
Hark said preparations for the higher crest are approximately 80 percent complete. He is confident that if something unexpected happens regarding the river the remaining levee work could be completed in a day.
"I'll be keeping an eye on river predictions and the weather. If something changes we will finish everything," Hark said.
After reaching 28.4 feet the Mississippi is expected to remain at that level into Saturday afternoon at which time it is forecast to begin a steady decline over the next two weeks.
The river has climbed quickly over the last week. On April 28, the river level stood at 21.01.
A crest of 28.4 would rank fourth on the historic crest list in Hannibal. Ranking ahead of it would be 28.59, that occurred prior to the construction of the flood levee, on April 25, 1973. Second on the flood list is 29.54 recorded on June 18, 2008. The number one flood crest is 31.8 feet seen on July 15, 1993.
Anything 24 feet and greater is considered a major flood in Hannibal.
Friday's crest will represent Hannibal's second top 10 flood crest of 2019. On March 31, a crest of 25.81 was recorded, which is the seventh all-time flood crest in America's Hometown.