Fox News Weather Center

River flooding to threaten lives, property in central US through end of May

Residents in the Mississippi Valley preparing for the renewed threat of heavy rain and drenching thunderstorms late this week must do so amid the continuation of major river flooding.

“High water levels will continue to impact travel along the Mississippi River as navigation and port operations are compromised,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts said.

The flooding has already been blamed for causing at least 10 fatalities.

On Saturday, the Mississippi River at St. Louis crested at 41.7 feet, or nearly 12 feet above flood stage. The river is not forecast to fall below flood stage until the upcoming weekend.

“Flooding is occurring along the Mississippi River from near New Boston, Iowa, to Donaldsville, Louisiana, and along some of its many major tributaries like the Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois rivers,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney said.

Central US Flood Risk


Residents of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, witnessed a crest of 46 feet this past weekend which fell only 3 feet shy of setting a new record. Flooding issues may persist in southeastern Missouri until early next week.

Similarly, many towns and cities along these impacted rivers can expect waters to rise again over the next several days or, at best, slowly recede, LeSeney added.

The Wabash River at New Harmony, Indiana, reached moderate flood stage on Monday morning and may crest just below major flood stage, but not until the upcoming weekend.

The Illinois River at Peoria, Illinois, will finally fall below moderate flood stage late this week but should remain above minor flood stage through at least the third week of May.

In Arkansas, communities along the White River have been especially hard hit with flooding as nearly the entire length of the river has breached major flood stage. In fact, the White River may not crest in southern Arkansas until early next week.

For many people living in the lower Mississippi Valley, the extreme floodwaters currently ravaging the mid-Mississippi Valley have yet to funnel downstream.

The Mississippi River between Arkansas City and Donaldson, Louisiana, has yet to reach moderate flood stage, but may catch some residents off-guard when it does so late next week.

missouri highway flooding

Severe flooding overtook portions of Missouri Highway 21 on May 3. (Photo/Missouri State Highway Patrol)


From the mid-Mississippi Valley and points southward, the worst flooding for many communities is yet to come as rising water levels threaten a greater amount of both lives and property in the days and even weeks ahead.

“River levels in some portions of the south-central United States may not drop below flood stage until nearly the end of the month,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

The Red Cross and local charities and resource centers have pitched in to help in the St. Louis area by collecting and distributing food, personal hygiene items and clothing to those who have been displaced.

Motorists who come across flooded roadways should always seek alternate routes of travel in order to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.

LeSeney warned that the upcoming bout of heavy rain will only exacerbate the current flooding problems and delay the waters retreat.