The Coast Guard closed two sections of the Mississippi over last weekend, where barges broke loose at St. Louis and Vicksburg, rammed bridges, and then sunk.
Thursday we had 4-5 inches of rain in Monroe County, Illinois at the east in of the Jefferson Barracks bridge, which was hit by one or more barges early Sunday morning. All that water poured into the Mississippi, causing the first flooding since the fall of 2011. This morning the flood gauge at St. Louis hit 35 feet, five feet above flood level, the highest it has been since 2008. The Coast Guard reopened the river this morning, It seems the sunken barges will cause no harm to navigation and the stranded barges are outside the navigation channel.
At Jefferson Barracks the Mississippi is wide and shallow and has caused the Corps of Engineers no end of trouble since the first began deepening the channel to 9 feet in 1872. Last summer the drought was so severe and the river at Jefferson Barracks so shallow that sandbars were forming between the dikes.
Upstream of the Jefferson Barracks Bridge the dike field was exposed so long that vegetation took root and got a pretty good start before flooding came along and washed it away.
Last summer the side channels almost dried up. This spring flooding has filled them and flushed out excess sediment. Fish will be able to find quiet places to spawn.