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Lock closure said possible on Miss. River

Keywords: Tags  shipping, Mississippi River, heavy rains, flooding, lock closures, Army Corps of Engineers, Mike Petersen, United States Coast Guard previous flooding

CHICAGO — Successive days of thunderstorms and heavy rains in the upper Midwest may cause at least one lock closure around the Independence Day holiday, according to Mike Petersen, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ St. Louis District.

Based on weather forecasts issued June 26, "we may close Lock and Dam 24 at Clarksville, Mo. The crest date is July 5 at 33 feet (above flood stage)," he said.

"Once the Louisiana railroad bridge closes (Champ Clark Bridge in Louisiana, Mo.), there is nothing going south or north," Petersen said.

As of June 26, there were 26 barges moving south between Locks 19 and 25 as well as 52 barges sailing north, according to the Corps’ Lock Performance Monitoring System. That same day, storms produced four to six inches of rain across sections of northern Illinois, whose tributaries feed the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

"It looks like another decent bump in the river (level)," Petersen said.

The agency has already met with the U.S. Coast Guard and River Industry Action Committee, which represents shippers and vessel operators, to let them know of the potential closure at Clarksville. Regular communications "help the industry to minimize the impact of what happens on the river," Petersen said.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard provided advance warning of near-record flooding in April (, April 19) and additional navigation challenges earlier in June (, June 5), which shut down locks up and down the Mississippi and closed the Illinois River at Peoria,

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