Flood 2013: Bridge closes, levee holds

Water creeps up to the Quincy Memorial Bridge prior to its closure at noon on April 19, 2013.

The Illinois Department of Transportation closed the Quincy Memorial Bridge Friday as waters along the Mississippi River continue to rise.

The move marks a signifier that flood waters rose faster and higher than originally anticipated. River stages are expected to crest Sunday in most areas.

Eastbound traffic along U.S. 24 will cross the neighboring Bayview Bridge for at least a week, according to IDOT.

Quincy Central Services director Marty Stegeman is confident that IDOT's closure will be a smooth operation.

"They've done this in the past. It will be a little more time consuming for people to get in and out of town," he said. "But it should run smoothly. They have a lot of experience in doing this."

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn declared most of the affected areas in Illinois disaster areas.

"We have to do that because if there's any kind of damage to our individual homes or individual businesses or to our governments who spend so much money to prepare and defend against the flood, we're going to seek federal assistance," the governor said.

He made some remarks alongside other state officials and Quincy Mayor John Spring today this afternoon at the Quincy riverfront.

The city managed to avoid an immediate need for sandbagging, according to Stegeman. Other areas in Illinois, Southeast Iowa and Northeast Missouri weren't as fortunate.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri.

Alexandria, Mo. braces for the worst

The Levee Board in Alexandria, Missouri decided to build a bag enclosure over Highway 61.

Crews began work this morning using tractors to move sand as quickly as possible into bags.

Highway 61 runs over the levee but it also is the lowest point in the levee.

Levee District President John Winkelman says they don't expect the river to rise over the levee but they aren't taking any chances.

"It's just a lot of rain, more than we can handle," he said. "We've been running our pumps. We have three forty-two inch pumps. We've been pumping for 24-hours straight and will continue to do so for the next four or five days."

Desperate cry for help in LaGrange, Mo.

Lacy Seeger American Family Insurance said that sandbaggers are needed in LaGrange, Mo.

Water levels covered the train tracks that run along the east side of downtown.

"We need some serious help," she said. "It's been over the train tracks for hours and it's over Main Street."

Volunteers should park about a block away from Main Street and walk.

Sny Levee holds

There are few concerns at the Sny Levee.

The Sny Island Levee Drainage District stretches along the Illinois side of the Mississippi River from Marblehead to Calhoun County.

District director Mike Reed said that they have not had to call on flood managers and volunteers to sandbag and push sand to the top of the level.

He said another batch of storms across Northeast Missouri and Southeast Iowa would be a major cause of concern.

"As long as those models hold, we should be in good shape," he said.

Reed said that there are about 30 flood managers and about 100 volunteers on call.

The Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Mo. could close as early as Saturday river-stage predictions hold true.

Mudslides and flooding in Hannibal

Hannibal Street Department worker Jim Hoskins said workers cleared mudslides that blocked North River Road near the railroad bridge north of the Mark Twain Memorial Bridge.

Flood waters continued to ravage homes along Bear Creek.

Water breeched the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center at 301 Warren Barrett Drive, Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department director said.

Volunteers lend a hand in Clarksville, Mo.

AmeriCorps volunteers from St. Louis sandbagged through the early morning in an attempt to keep waters from damaging businesses in downtown Clarksville, Mo.

Downtown Clarksville is only a few feet away from the Mississippi River. The town sits between Louisiana and St. Louis along State Highway 79.

Mayor Jo Anne Smiley is scared of losing her city to the Mississippi.

"If the water over flows it can take down businesses then what?" she asked.

Gov. Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard. They will be deployed to assist the city of Clarksville and other communities along the Mississippi River.

If water levels continue to climb, water could cross the Illinois entrance of the Champ Clark Bridge near Louisiana by Saturday.