City preparing to pull its floodgates

All five of Hannibal's floodgates are tentatively scheduled to be removed Monday, July 1.
By Danny Henley, Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: Jun. 26, 2019 12:01 am

All five of Hannibal's floodgates are tentatively scheduled to be removed Monday, July 1. The gates have been in place since March 15.

"I will be one thrilled person when these things go back in their rack," said Hannibal's Emergency Management Director John Hark.

There had been speculation that the gates might come out sooner. The gates were tentatively set to be removed on Thursday, June 27, "barring any river craziness," said Director of Central Services Andy Dorian during the June 20 meeting of the Hannibal Park Board.

While the Mississippi continues to recede, it is not going down fast enough to permit the gates to be removed this week, Hark said.

"It is not going down where I can remove [the gates] before Saturday, and I am sure not going to remove them on Saturday. The city probably wouldn't want to pay the overtime, although I'm going to check into it," Hark said. "If it keeps falling the way it is falling, and nothing drastically changes, I am going to pull [the gates] Monday morning."

A Monday removal would allow some time for pre-holiday cleanup east of the downtown flood levee, Hark said.

"I think that [removing the gates Monday] would be a win for us with the holiday coming up. We are doing everything we can to make it [the riverfront] a little nicer," he said.

Removal of the floodgates would also give access to the contractor in charge of the city's riverfront renovation project.

"It will let them get back to work doing whatever they can do," Dorian said.

Thus far in 2019 the Mississippi River in Hannibal has produced three crests ranking in the top 10 all-time, including the crest of 30.16 feet on June 1, which ranks second all-time.

Although the river has for the most part been steadily dropping since its June 1 crest, it may not be done producing notable crests this year.

"John [Hark] tells us that the long-term forecast from the National Weather Service doesn't look good," Dorian told the park board last week. "They are predicting a weather pattern much like ’93, which will mean a high river in July and August."

While a wet early summer is anticipated, Hark is thankful that the floodgates should be out for the holiday.

"If we have to do something later on, we will do what we have to do," he said. "I just hope we can leave them [gates] out."

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