The Meramec River Rises as Spring is Underway
The River Road was flooded part of the day Thursday as the Meramec River wandered from its banks.
It's a rite of Spring for old river towns.
On the first day of Spring (Wednesday), the Meramec River was up and running swiftly through Fenton, rising out of its banks (for a time at least) to cover the River Road, which is what Larkin Williams Road is more commonly known as.
The water level upriver at Valley Park (there is no official river gauge in Fenton) at about 5 p.m. Wednesday was 21.07 feet. Flood stage there is 16 feet. As all that water made it's way to the Fenton area, it filled up the commuter parking lot under the Highway 30 bridge, covered a portion of the River Road, swamped parts of Minnie Ha Ha Park in Sunset Hills and then sped down to Arnold where it crested at 25.64 feet, just above the Arnold flood stage of 25.1 feet. By Thursday afternoon, the river levels had already started to drop, exposing Fenton's River Road again, although Minnie Ha Ha Park will remain closed until Monday. Barring any sudden major storms, the levels will continue to drop until the water is well below flood stage.
Wednesday's high water levels on the Meramec are little more than a nuisance, as floods go. River towns have battled much worse deluges in their pasts. But there is more water on the way. The National Weather Service (NWS) is calling for rain, snow, or both, through Sunday. It also has issued a flood warning for the Meramec River from Valley Park to Arnold, calling for minor to moderate flooding.
The NWS strongly advises motorists not to drive cars, trucks or sport utility vehicles through flooded areas at the water may be too deep for safe passage.
The Fenton police put it more bluntly, advising motorists who see water on the road: "Please don't take this as a challenge. If we see someone driving in the water, they are getting a ticket."