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      Low risk flood forecast is good for business

      Hannibal may not have to use flood gates this spring season.

      For the first time in four years, the risk of major flooding is low and local businesses can forget past year's flooding nightmares.

      "Yes we were totally out of business at that time and we hope to never have to experience that again," Sandy Terry, owner of the Mark Twain Riverboat, said.

      During a severe flood in 2008, Terry's business was at a standstill, something she won't have to worry about this season.

      "We're not looking at a great deal of snow melt coming from the north," John Hark, the Hannibal Marion County Emergency Management director, said. "They don't have the snow impact that they had many years ago so that definitely going to make a difference in what we look at here."

      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a low flood risk this spring season for central areas in the U.S. like Hannibal. It credits the forecast to the limited amount of snowfall this past winter. Something local businesses are thankful for.

      "All the businesses in the historic district would be affected by any major flooding so I'm sure all the other shop owners are going to be happy to hear this," Bruce Anton, owner of Becky's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor & Emporium, said.

      "That's wonderful so we're just planning on having cruises everyday just like normal," Terry said.

      Despite NOAA's forecast for the spring season, Hannibal officials are remaining prepared for anything mother nature could throw at them.

      "We'll stay prepared, we'll make sure everything is ready to go and can we see some high water I think that's still possible but we just go with the flow of the river whatever it's forecast to do is our response is," Hark said.

      Spring rainfall can lead to flooding at any time, even in areas like Hannibal, forecast with low risk.