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Levees Can't Hold Rising River

Levees Can't Hold Rising River

Army Corps of Engineers reports four levees overtopped on Missouri River in northwest Missouri.

Four levees on the Missouri River in northwest Missouri and southeast Nebraska have failed due to rising floodwaters.

The Missouri River Levee L-550, located north of Highway 136 near Rock Port in Atchison County, began overtopping on June 19, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The local levee sponsor has determined the overtopping is too severe for any flood fighting activities to protect this levee. In addition, Federal Levee R-548 across the river from L-550 is overtopping.

Water levels at the Brownsville gauge increased approximately 2 feet in a 24-hour period from 5:30 a.m. June 18 to 5:30 a.m. on June 19. State Emergency Management agencies, officials from the State of Missouri and Nebraska, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region VII have been notified and are responding.

The third overtopped levee is the clay levee, located near River Mile 535.5 in Atchison County. The levee is in the Federal Program (PL 84-99) and is operated and maintained by a non-federal sponsor. The corps constructed it in the late 1940s.

The Holt County #10 Levee has also breached. This levee is located west of Big Lake, Mo., and is north and across the River from Rulo, Neb.  This breach was due to water overtopping the levee. The local sponsor plans to cut the downstream end of the levee to allow water to flow through the river bottom to reduce damage in the levee's area of protection.

"People's safety is our No. 1 concern, so we want to stress how important it is for the public to stay off of these levees as we continue to assess the risk," said Omaha District Commander Col. Bob Ruch.

The overtopping follows weeks of high flows and increasing releases from the main stem dams in Montana and the Dakotas. The corps encourages the public to contact their local state emergency operations center for additional information including recommended evacuations. 

Transportation shut down

U.S. Coast Guard has closed the Missouri River to all traffic from River Mile 450 and upstream.

Interstate and Missouri highway closings include:

Currently 40 miles of I-29 are closed.

Interstate I-29 is closed from Mile Post 110 in Missouri north to Mile Post 10 in Iowa. Iowa DOT may close an additional 10 miles north to Mile marker 20 in the next few days. I-29 is also closed from mile markers 55 to 71 beginning near the Council Bluffs/Omaha area and north. (The global detour for I-29 is I-35 North to I-80 west to I-680 to I-29 north of Council Bluffs).

U.S. Highway 159 in Holt County is closed

U.S. Highway 13 in Atchison County is closed

Recommended detours:

U.S. Highway 36 at St. Joseph or bridges in the Kansas City area. High water and roads closures are impacting traffic flow and motorists are encouraged to plan accordingly and drive with care. High water is expected through August so many of these roads will remain closed for an extended period. 

Sources: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Missouri Levee & Drainage District Association

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