Levee breaches slowed river's rise
This weekend the Mississippi River at Hannibal will likely approach, but not exceed, 1993's record level, according to Mark Fuchs of the National Weather Service.
The predicted crest in Hannibal was 29.8 feet as of Friday afternoon, but it could change. The river began to climb again after dropping to 28.31 feet early Friday morning.
"You have to say that's probably good to plus or minus a foot or so," Fuchs said. "Nothing is going to be certain, because it becomes very much educated guesswork when we don't know how much water we have got (flowing down the river) because of the levee breaks."
The river was on track Thursday morning to reach a projected crest of 30.7 feet. However, after reaching 29.48 feet the river suddenly dropped Thursday afternoon. Levee breaks in eastern Lewis County caused the river to recede in Hannibal by just more than a foot, Fuchs said.
"It's recovering. We are expecting it to go up a little higher than it's been. Not a lot, but a little bit," said Fuchs. "As of right now it doesn't look like we will get above 30 feet."
The anticipated crest will not arrive until Sunday evening or Sunday night.
"That could change," Fuchs said.
Rain levels in the watershed areas affect Mississippi River levels. Fuchs said forecast models do not agree on the rainfall outlook. While one model does not anticipate much rain over the next 10 days, another is calling for "significantly higher" amounts.
"That (additional rainfall) would not help, obviously. It's very uncertain stuff," Fuchs said. "I would say the general rule is that the best chances of heavy rain would be south of Hannibal. That's good news."
Forecasters are watching a system expected to bring precipitation into the region early next week. "It doesn't look like a ton of rain, but we will be watching it with interest," Fuchs said.