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  • After all the storms and rain, not just here in St. Louis but along the whole Missouri and Mississippi River basins, the great rivers are again in flood.

    Tonight, I decided to take a look.

    So I drove out to Chouteau Island, a small artificial island largely built from the dredgings of the Chain Of Rocks Canal to the east of the island.

    Here's a view of the Chain of Rocks Canal, the bypass canal for barge traffic in this area.
  • As you can see the water level is very high here.

    It has overflowed the normal banks of the canal and is working its way up the banks of the flanking levees.

    The bridges in the distance are, in the foreground, the old canal bridge that used to carry U.S. Route 66 and, in the background, the newer bridge carrying Interstate 270.

    The Interstate 270 bridge is not in great shape and is currently undergoing repair, thankfully.
  • A short drive across Chouteau Island take you to the old Chain of Rocks Bridge.

    This is now a state park and one the best places in the area to get an overview of the Mississippi River.

    A fairly lengthy walk up the approach ramp to the bridge, tonight littered with leaves and branches from the storm that swept through on Friday night, gets you to that view.

    Here it is looking south.

    In the far distance, to the top left, you can see the tall buildings and the Gateway Arch of St. Louis city.
  • The river is naturally wide here, but usually you see expansive sand banks to the left of view.

    None of those today. The water is everywhere. Muddy and violent. You would not want to fall into this river.
  • A look at one of the ornately decorated fresh water intake structures reveals high the river has risen.

    You would not expect the level to be anywhere near that quaint superstructure.
  • A look north, upstream, shows the functional and not particularly attractive new Chain of Rocks Bridge carrying the Interstate 270 traffic.

    The water was full of debris.

    As I stood on the old bridge, every I heard now and again a scraping sound and sometimes a thud that could just be felt.

    This debris was not just twigs and leaves.
  • Finally another look south as the setting sun lit up as the water intake building.

    The river is not at its peak, that is predicted to be 40.5 feet in St. Louis on Monday.

    Just enough to nudge the level into the "Major Flood" category.

    By that time it is likely that the levee protecting Chouteau Island will be overtopped, and the low lying areas - farmland primarily - will be swamped.

    It will be a close thing. I hope it stays below that level.

    But this is major flood event for St. Louis, high enough to put the crest into the top ten highest recorded flood levels for the city.

    However nowhere, fortunately, close to the 1993 record of 49.58 feet in August of 1993.
  • In the old days of Cowbird, there used to be a little box you could check if your story was about a current event.

    That's gone.

    But this story is about a current event.

    In both senses of the word.
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