How High Is the Water? … And Other Assorted Missouri River Questions

Rocheport businesses (all of them!) are open and keeping normal hours.  Even if we experience higher than normal river levels this summer, our B&B’s, shops, and restaurants are nearly all located well out of the way of high water so it will not affect your enjoyment of Rocheport.

 Occasionally, our close neighbor to the South, the Missouri River, becomes a force of nature and asserts itself by occupying a full measure of real estate along the ancient path to the Mississippi River at St. Louis.   This spring and summer, upper reaches of the Missouri River are at high flood levels due to heavy snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains and heavy rainfall in the immense Missouri River basin.  High water levels on the upper Missouri River do not necessarily translate to high water levels at Rocheport.  The river and valley are much wider here than in the north and much water can pass by us without causing flood levels locally.

Presently, our water level is 21.5 feet at the Boonville gauge.  Because Rocheport doesn’t have its own river gauge, we use the closest gauge for reference and it is located just upstream in Boonville.  21 feet at Boonville is officially defined as the beginning of “Flood Stage.”  In Rocheport, no one notices or cares when the river reaches 21 feet.  No Rocheport property, businesses, citizens, or visitors are affected at this water level.

Water levels must rise to about 27 feet before first effects are noticed.  At 27 feet, the Katy Trail State Park surface in low spots located about two miles west and eight miles east of Rocheport first go under water.  Locals and savvy trail users usually ride slowly or walk bikes through the short distance required when water is up to about six inches deep on the Katy Trail.  Rocheport tends to attract more Katy Trail traffic at times of high water because cyclists can ride out along the banks and safely observe the awesome power of the Mighty Missouri from a few feet away.  The Katy Trail near Rocheport is generally regarded as the most beautiful section of the entire 238 mile trail and high river water is an added bonus.

 River water will first cover the Katy Trail at the lowest spot inside Rocheport City Limits at about 31 feet.  Even this level of water will not impair your ability to access the Trail and safely cycle out under the bluffs and enjoy views of the River.

Rocheport is not protected by any levee.  This means there are no levees to break or be topped by rising water.  Therefore, very few Rocheport buildings are located in harm’s way even if water levels reach extremely high levels.

To access current Missouri River level information and predictions go to the U.S. Geological Survey website Missouri River Levels at Boonville.  This is a wonderful website which we keep on “favorites” so objective information can be imparted when inquiries are made.