ST. LOUIS – A wet June turned worse after strong weekend storms drenched the Midwest, strengthening worries that already-serious flooding won't go away anytime soon.
It seems to be unrelenting: More rain is forecast for later this week in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, "possibly a lot," National Weather Service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said Monday.
"It's a very wet late spring, early summer, and it doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon," he said.
Buyouts since the massive flood of 1993 have removed thousands of homes from the floodplains of the Midwest, but the flooding has closed hundreds of roads and swamped thousands of acres of farmland.
Parts of Missouri saw nearly 2 inches of rain over the weekend. St. Louis has received 13.1 inches of rain this month, 9 inches above normal and setting a June record with two days left in the month. It's also the second-wettest of any month since official record-keeping began in 1874; in first place is 14.78 inches in August 1946.
Flood-weary towns scrambled to protect themselves. In southeast Missouri, dozens of people fled Dutchtown and Allenville as the Mississippi River neared a crest of 12 feet above flood stage. In northeast Missouri, the Fabius River spiked 10 feet above flood stage, topping sandbags on a levee and forcing about 100 residents of a mobile home park to evacuate in Taylor.
The storms also brought severe weather, with three tornadoes touching down Sunday about 70 miles northwest of St. Louis and a possible one in a St. Louis suburb.
Other rivers were overflowing, too. The Illinois River was around 10 feet above flood stage at several points in central Illinois, flooding roads and a few businesses in places like Beardstown, Meredosia and Peoria. The town of Peru called off its July Fourth fireworks show because of the flooding. And in southern Illinois, the Ohio River was climbing toward an expected crest 7 feet above flood stage Saturday at Cairo, drenching farmland in that area.
Northwest Indiana has been hit particularly hard during June. Agriculture experts said last week the state's corn and soybean crop has already been reduced by nearly $300 million. That was before up to 4 inches of weekend rain caused rivers and creeks to flood and prevented storm sewers from emptying into them, resulting in street flooding in Muncie, Portland and other communities.
The Wabash River was so high in Lafayette, Indiana, over the weekend that it blocked access to a hospital. The river was still more than 10 feet above flood stage Monday after dropping a foot from its crest Sunday.
And in southwest Michigan, the overflowing Kalamazoo River drenched Stryker Field, home of the minor-league Kalamazoo Growlers. It'll be several days before the field dries out, and the cost of the damage is not yet known. Flood warnings were issued for several waterways in southern Michigan.