With spring approaching quickly, and the heavy flooding from early summer 2019 fresh in their minds, Lincoln County officials are keeping an eye on the weather coming in the next few months.
“We don’t have a spring flood forecast yet and probably won’t for a few weeks but we have stayed in contact with the national weather service and Army Corps of Engineers,” Emergency Management Director Jim Sharp said. Even without having hard evidence of flooding coming this spring, Sharp is keeping communications open during this period of recovery from last spring while they wait to see what they can find out about the upcoming spring.
“We didn’t think the flooding [last spring] was going to be the duration or magnitude that it was,” Patrick Walsh, a Meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said.
With the way flooding occurred so quickly and suddenly last year, meteorologist are looking at what weather patterns are right now because what happens during the winter months impacts the outcome of how spring and even summer weather will look.
“The way we are set up now with moisture locked into the ground and river levels that are probably a little bit higher than they should be for the winter months, depending on the kind of precipitation we get in the spring and how much, like even if we get normal to slightly above normal precipitation levels, we could look at some flooding,” Walsh said. “We have about a 40 percent chance at above-normal precipitation for the next three months and that’s for the St. Louis area and up north.”
With recovery from last spring’s flooding being an ongoing and long-term process, while there has been progress made within the county, Sharp pointed out that there is still work that needs to be done.
“Recovery continues and it is a long term process and obviously the water has been back where the water belongs for several months now and our infrastructure has been repaired as far as roads and levees and things like that. We are just starting the process with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster reimbursement and things like that, but that will also be a process,” Sharp said. Some houses are still being rebuilt and raised and there are still some steps being taken to get the county back to where they were. County officials are taking as many resources and safety procedures into consideration as possible.
“There is a method now that we can kind of use and based on the depth of the river also see any water that comes on top or through a levee with proceeding land and that will give us a better idea of what roads may be impacted first, what infrastructure may be impacted first and to see what to do to keep everyone safe,” Sharp said.