The Grand River at Chillicothe, which measured below 6 feet Wednesday morning, rose sharply overnight and the National Weather Service has forecast a crest of 35.1 feet by 7 p.m. tonight. If predictions hold true, the crest would carve a spot in the history books as Grand River’s 11th highest flood on record for Chillicothe. The latest river reading before press time was 29.26 feet (measured at 10:45 a.m.).
When the river level tops 35 feet in Chillicothe, the NWS considers it as reaching a major flood stage. Early today, the weather service forecast a 36.1 crest by 1 a.m. Friday. However, just before noon, the forecasted crest was lowered to 35.1 feet.
Reaching that high could threaten travel on U.S. Highway 36 west of Chillicothe and U.S. 65 south of Chillicothe. Whether water actually encroaches onto the highways remains to be seen, yet the Missouri Department of Transportation will be keeping a close eye as the river rises.
Todd Rounkles, MoDOT maintenance supervisor for Livingston County, said that when the last time water started to get over the major highways, the river had crested at 36.5 feet. He noted, though, that since that time work has been completed on several levees which could affect the path of floodwater.
“It’s hard to guess,” he said.
Chillicothe received 3.2 inches of rain for the 24-hour period ending at 8 a.m. today, according to the official weather station in Chillicothe.
The NWS issued a flood warning for early Thursday morning through 1 a.m. Saturday. The anticipated crest takes into account past precipitation and the precipitation amounts expected approximately into the future from the forecast issuance time.
Here’s a look at the current list of top 10 floods on record with the NWS:
1. 39.60 ft on July 25, 1993
2. 39.10 ft on July 9, 1993
3. 37.14 ft on May 10, 2007
4. 36.45 ft on May 14, 2010
5. 36.40 ft on May 25, 1995
6. 35.72 ft on June 9, 2010
7. 35.32 ft on June 26, 2008
A tornado watch was issued Wednesday afternoon and evening for Livingston County and expired without incident. No reports of damage were made. A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so that those who need to set their plans in motion can do so.
Emergency storm shelters in Chillicothe are located at the fire station (700 2nd Street), Livingston County Courthouse (700 Webster Street), Chillicothe City Hall (715 Washington Street), and First Baptist Church (1601 Bryan Street). The facilities are opened when surrounding counties go under a storm warning.
Individuals who would like to receive email messages or text alerts sent directly to their cell phones when storm watches and warnings are issued may sign up at: http://www.livingstoncountymo.com/ textcaster.htm