The Missouri Department of Transportation is preparing to handle flooding over roadways this weekend with a flash flood watch in effect for most of Mid-Missouri.
The Moreau River near Jefferson City is expected to see the highest flooding with a forecast to be in major flood stage by Sunday night.
As of 8:30 p.m. Friday, the river measures 3.7 feet, according to the National Weather Service. By Sunday night, the river is expected to rise dramatically to 30.4 feet.
According to the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team, Cole County could get 3 to 5 inches of rain Friday night through Sunday.
But how can that amount of rainfall make the river level rise by more than 25 feet?
“We already have saturated ground,” ABC 17 Stormtrack Chief Meteorologist Sharon Ray said. “We already have runoff from the recent rains and the ground is almost holding as much moisture as it can. So it’s not going to take much rain for all the creeks and streams that feed the Moreau River to get that rising quickly. And on top of it, that’s right in the middle of where we’re expecting some of the heaviest rain.”
Because of the flooding potential, MoDOT crews are keeping a close eye on roads near the Moreau River this weekend.
“For us, that means preparing closure mechanisms,” said Randy Aulbur, the MoDOT Central District maintenance engineer. “So barricades, signing related to water over the road, those kind of things to shut those routes down in those locations.”
There are a couple of spots along Route D that will likely be shut down this weekend due to the flooding, according to Aulbur.
MoDOT asks if you see a barrier, do not drive around it because the heavy rain could wash away sections of the road or undermine the existing drainage.
“That’s what happens a lot of times,” Aulbur said. “You think you’re driving in 2 inches and then all a sudden the road doesn’t exist anymore and you went to where you’re submerged and being swept away.”
Although flooding along the Missouri River is not expected to be quite as high, MoDOT said it will also be monitoring low-lying parts of that river this weekend as well.
If you are planning on driving anywhere this weekend, you can check conditions and find flooding closures on the MoDOT travel map here.