The National Weather Service’s flood forecast for the Missouri River at Washington has been revised upward, potentially impacting Highway 47. Local emergency officials are urging the public to pay close attention to official sources of information for road closures.
As of Tuesday morning, water channeling into the Warren County floodplain was about a foot below the lowest point of Highway 47 near the Missouri River bridge, according to the National Weather Service. Officials currently expect the road and bridge to remain open for people traveling between Marthasville and Washington.
However, by Wednesday evening, June 5, traffic on Highway 47 could be impacted by some water on the road. The National Weather Service is forecasting that recent rainfall will swell the river to a height where water could start to come over the highway at Augusta Bottom Road and the Lake Creek bridge near Dutzow.
Up-to-date information about current road flooding is shared through the Warren County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page (www.facebook.com/WcmoEMA) and the MoDOT online traveler map (traveler.modot.org).
Warren County Emergency Management Director Mike Daniels said officials are actively monitoring water levels. Any decision related to traffic on Highway 47 is up to the Missouri Department of Transportation, but Daniels said water partially covering the highway doesn’t necessarily mean the road will close.
Much will depend on regional rainfall over the next week. Thunderstorms predicted for the mid-Missouri region could extend the flood warning for a longer time, or cause a higher crest on the river and more significant impact on roads.
Flooding already has impacted Highway 94 and several nearby county roads, some of which have been closed since May 23.
Current road closures include:
• Highway 94 west of Treloar in southern Warren County.
• Augusta Bottom Road from Highway 47 to Emke Road.
• Highway 94 at the Boat Club.
• Sellenschuetter Road at Highway 94.
• North Tunnel Road at Highway A.
• Boone Monument Road from the Katy Trail to Highway 47.
• Gore Road
• Lost Creek Road at 1-2 miles north of Highway 94
Sheriff Kevin Harrison said deputies are actively monitoring high water levels, and are taking in information from other local agencies and area residents to help determine when a road needs to be closed.
Harrison said water over the driving lane will cause a road to be closed, and that people should not drive through water covering the roadway if they can avoid it. However, some roads are the only access points for local homes, so the sheriff’s department may continue to allow local traffic through, Harrison said.
If the sheriff’s department does close a road, authorities are warning drivers to never move or go around barricades.
“Driving through moving water, you’re taking your life into your own hands. Driving through still water … there’s nothing saying there’s road underneath it,” the sheriff said.
The U.S. Coast Guard has closed the Missouri River itself to all boat traffic from St. Louis to Kansas City. The Coast Guard is warning that the wake from boats could cause water to damage or overtop levees along the river. Debris or hidden shoals in the water could also put boaters in danger.