April Showers Bring Flooding to the Midwest

Caption:  St. Louis, Missouri, with the Mississippi River in the foreground.  This picture was taken in 2008.

The mighty Mississippi River was expected to crest at 35.1 feet Tuesday at Saint Louis, Missouri, according to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch – five feet above flood stage.

Little or no damage was expected in the city itself.

But rural areas north of the city got hit with flooding over the weekend.

And at least one flood-related death has been reported in Missouri – someone who tried to drive through high water.

Two other people died in similar situations in Indiana.

It’s been an unusually cold and unusually wet winter for much of the Midwest this year.

And on Tuesday, forecasters feared that a spring snowstorm that was expected to dump as much as nine inches on Minneapolis, Minnesota, might make the flooding even worse.

The Mississippi River rolls down the middle of the Midwest, passing between Minnesota and Wisconsin, Wisconsin and Iowa, Illinois and Iowa and Illinois and Missouri before reaching the South.

And when there’s a lot of snow in Minnesota, chances are a lot of the snowmelt will wind up flowing down the Mississippi.

That’s what’s causing concern.

Michigan, Indiana and Illinois have all gotten hit with flooding in the past week, because of all the rain.

And in Fargo, North Dakota, forecasters are still waiting for the Red River to begin its annual flooding, possibly later this week.

Forecasters also say there might be significant flooding later this week in communities such as Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Cairo, Illinois.

Both of those cities are south of Saint Louis.

And the Mississippi River hasn’t crested yet where they’re located.

Since the Great Flood of 1993, a lot of people who lived along the Mississippi have moved to higher ground.

But some people are determined to stay put.

In Clarksville, Missouri, and Grafton, Illinois, community leaders have even rejected calls for permanent levees – tall wall-like structures, right along the river, designed to keep it from overflowing.

Why?

According to the Associated Press (AP), they say it would destroy their view.

“We are a tourist town,” Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley told the AP.  “And part of that involves seeing and experiencing the river.”

“We just live with it,” added Grafton resident Pam Bick, speaking about the frequent flooding.  “We live here because it’s so beautiful.”

Some businesses have even been trying to cash in on the flooding, according to the Post-Dispatch.

A Grafton ice cream shop was reportedly offering discounts on flavors with water-related names, including River Road – a swirl of chocolate and vanilla with crushed peanut butter cups and chocolate syrup.

“We had a decent weekend,” shop owner Kim Baalman-Eberlin told the Post-Dispatch.  “There are people who come (to town) just to see (the flood).”