Publication Date May 1, 2017

River Flooding Smashes Records From Over 100 Years Ago; More Record Flooding This Week in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois

United States

Torrential rainfall Friday through Sunday triggered destructive flooding from the Ozarks into the mid-Mississippi Valley, with some river crests smashing records that had stood for over 100 years. River flooding will only worsen in some areas through the rest of this week.\

Locations that have been hit hard by flooding are now experiencing drier conditions, however, more rain may arrive in these water-logged areas by midweek, adding insult to injury.


Already, record flooding has been observed in 12 locations. Some locations in southern Missouri shattered record crests that had stood for over 100 years.

  • Illinois River near Watts, Oklahoma (previous record: Dec. 28, 2015)
  • Big Piney at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri (previous record: March 19, 2008)
  • Current River at Doniphan, Missouri (previous record: March 1, 1904)
  • Current River at Van Buren, Missouri (previous record: March 26, 1904)
  • Gasconade River near Hazelgreen, Missouri (previous record: March 19, 2008)
  • Gasconade River at Jerome, Missouri (previous record: Dec. 30, 2015)
  • Gasconade River near Rich Fountain, Missouri (previous record: Dec. 30, 2015)
  • Jacks Fork at Eminence, Missouri (previous record: Nov. 15, 1993)
  • Meramec River near Steelville, Missouri (previous record: July 27, 1998)
  • Meramec River near Sullivan, Missouri (previous record: Aug. 1, 1915)
  • North Fork White River near Tecumseh, Missouri (previous record: Aug. 1, 1915)
  • St. Francis River at Patterson, Missouri (previous record: Dec. 3, 1982)

Monday, the Current River reached an unprecedented 15 feet above the level at which "water begins to flood homes" in Doniphan, Missouri, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). 

Upstream, an historic crest 8.2 feet above the previous record from 1904 occurred April 30 in Van Buren, Missouri.

Record or near-record flood crests are possible this week in the following locations:

  • Black River at Pocahontas, Arkansas
  • Big Muddy River at Murphysboro, Illinois
  • Kaskaskia River at Vandalia, Illinois
  • Black River at Poplar Bluff, Missouri
  • Gasconade River near Rich Fountain, Missouri
  • Meramec River near Eureka, Missouri
  • Meramec River at Valley Park, Missouri
  • Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • St. Francis River at Fisk, Missouri