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All this winter snow creating elevated risk for flooding in Kansas City region

WESTON, Mo. -- Weston, Missouri, is one of the oldest cities in the state, making its fame as a bustling river town in the 1800’s.

But these days, Weston’s economy is based on tourism dollars. That means the Missouri River, the waterway that put Weston on the map, could put Main Street out of business if the river overflows its banks.

“Oh, I’m very concerned about it,” Weston Mayor Cliff Harvey said.

Harvey saw plenty of reason for concern, following a forecast released Monday for a high probability of spring flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

“We rely on those tourists coming into town,” Harvey said. “And if they can’t get here, that can be a problem.”

The National Weather Service reports there's “well above normal flood chances along the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers” after “more than three months of above average precipitation across Missouri.”

FOX4 Meteorologist Joe Lauria explains that all of the snow here in our region and upriver, all along the upper Midwest, sets up conditions ripe for spring flooding.

“There’s still 5-10 inches of moisture in the snow that has yet to melt,” Lauria said. “And that’s why we get so concerned about a switch to warm weather in late March. All that snow melts, and now you’re adding even more moisture into the river basins.”

Lauria said if there is a long, gradual shift to warmer temperatures, the chances are lower for spring flooding. Average to below-average spring rainfall could also help the situation.

Back in Weston, Harvey has ample experience with flooding on Main Street, both in 1993 and more recently in 2011.

“I stress about it quite a bit,” he said. “But it’s one of those things. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s going to come; it’s just, what are you going to do once it gets here.”

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