Despite flooding rain from this weekend departing by Monday, rivers across the central United States will continue to rise and threaten homes and residents this week.
A widespread swath of 4 to 8 inches of rain has inundated communities from Oklahoma to northern Arkansas and the lower Ohio Valley since Friday with locally higher amounts.
One of the highest rainfall totals has been measured in southern Missouri with nearly 10 inches in the community of Houston.
Flash flooding quickly ensued throughout the Central states, leading to road closures and forcing evacuations.
Streams and rivers rapidly rose, and the secondary and major rivers will continue to rise well after the rain has ended and flood waters drain downstream.
“The area was susceptible to major flooding since prior recent heavy rain in much of this swath had the ground saturated and stream and river levels elevated going into the new heavy rain event,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
Moderate to major river flooding is expected on the mid-Mississippi, the lowest point of the Ohio, Illinois, Wabash, Black and White rivers.
More record crests are anticipated on smaller rivers in the region.
On Saturday night, the North Fork White River near Tecumseh, Missouri, reached its highest level in more than a century. The river rose to 35.51 feet, breaking the previous record crest of 35 feet from Aug. 1, 1915.
National Weather Service hydrologists also expect the Current River at Doniphan, Missouri, to shatter its record crest level of 26.8 feet from March 1, 1904. The river should crest at 33 feet by midweek.
As is typical, it will take longer for the larger rivers to crest.
The mid-Mississippi River will likely not crest until the middle to latter part of this week.
The river at St. Louis may reach moderate flood levels later this week where flooding begins near the Eads bridge underpass and water will reach the base of the floodgates at Carr Street.
To the south, evacuations may be required in southern Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, due to the projected major flooding on the Mississippi River toward and during next weekend.
South of where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi, the river should slowly climb through following week.
“Residents and officials in the region should closely monitor the flooding situation and be prepared to take action as waters rise,” Sosnowski said.
Never attempt to walk or drive through flooded areas to avoid a potentially deadly situation. More deaths typically occur each year due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm-related hazard. Only six inches of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult. Only two feet of flowing water is needed to sweep away most vehicles.
The rivers will rise early this week despite the return of dry weather. However, the dry spell will not last long.
A new storm will arrive at midweek, spreading soaking rain from Oklahoma to Missouri and the Ohio Valley. A new round of severe weather may erupt over Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley.
More lives and property will be at risk as the downpours from both the rain and thunderstorms threaten to renew flash flooding and bring further rises on area rivers.