Crest of 28.8 feet still expected Friday evening

With a Mississippi River crest of 29 feet still being projected for Hannibal, efforts were underway Thursday morning to fortify the city's downtown flood levee.

A crane was being used to lift concrete Jersey barriers into place on the southern end of the levee. Between the barriers and sandbags, the levee will be raised an additional 2.5 to 3 feet, said John Hark, Hannibal's emergency management director.

Just as there are criteria for setting the city's five flood gates, there are also guidelines for adding to the levee, which is intended to protect the city to a flood crest of 34 feet.

"Anytime we are forecast to go over 27 feet then we start the process we are in right now," Hark said.

Hark is all for doing what it takes to protect the downtown area.

"This is the third biggest flood we've had," he said. "If it crests and starts back down, that's wonderful. We will have done a little work and spent a little money. But what if something happens and she comes back up? I'm going to be ready. I'm going to protect this community and err on the side of caution."

A couple of hundred yards from where street department workers were working on the levee, Hannibal Board of Public Works (HBPW) personnel added extensions to the top of the South Main Street floodgate. Similar extensions will be added to the levee's other four floodgates, said Kari Goodman of the HBPW.

Goodman said the last time floodgate extensions were installed was in 2008, which ranks as Hannibal's second all-time flood crest of 29.54 feet.

In 2008 the extensions were assembled at the gate and installed. This time the extensions are being assembled in a HBPW warehouse by one team of workers and then brought to the floodgate for installation by a second team.



danny.henley@courierpost.com