Levee work continues despite crest's passage

Levee work
Hannibal Street Department workers maneuver a concrete barrier into place atop the northern end of the flood levee Monday evening.
By Danny Henley, Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: May. 8, 2019 8:40 am

Expected rain spurred continued levee work, despite the passage of a 28.25 foot crest last Friday, May 3 in Hannibal.

On Monday, city workers, along with personnel from a crane company, worked until approximately 8 p.m. on the north end of the city's downtown flood levee along Bridge Street.

"We were doing some final touches," said John Hark, Hannibal's emergency management director. "We had not gotten to that end of the levee."

"It is a location where we had to get on grass to do the work. If we get more rain than expected or the river comes up higher than expected, I would not be able to get in there and do the work," Hark said.

A preliminary weather forecast called for between 4 and 5 inches of rain to fall this week across Northeast Missouri, Central Iowa and Western Illinois. The rainfall outlook has since been revised to from 2 to 2.5 inches.

"It was probably not necessary, but who knows?" Hark said, regarding his decision to proceed with the additional levee-raising work. "We do know the river is falling, but with the rains (this week) we are anticipating another crest."

Hark said he has been told by the National Weather Service to anticipate another crest of around 26 feet in 7 to 10 days.

"The river is up and down. Until the Mississippi goes down and stays down, we are just going to continue to do what we think is necessary," Hark said.

The river has been steadily dropping since Friday's crest, which ranks fourth on the list of historic crests for Hannibal, but volunteers are still willing to fill sandbags.

"We had quite a few people show up this morning," Hark said. "I think there were 18 baseball players from Hannibal-LaGrange. They really whipped out the sandbags."

Sandbags are still needed to provide a stockpile that could be used if a problem were to arise somewhere along the levee.

City sandbags are also available to private citizens, though Hark said there have been few requests for them.

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