University High and Dry Despite Area Flooding



March 20, 2008 – Despite record-setting rainfall in Cape Girardeau earlier this week and resulting flooding in Cape Girardeau and nearby counties, the Southeast Missouri State University campus has not been impacted except for a few relatively minor leaks, primarily in building basements during the height of the deluge.

Classes are in session today, Thursday, March 20, and have been throughout the week. The University will close after night classes this evening, Thursday, March 20, in anticipation of the Easter recess. The University will be closed on Friday, March 21, for the holiday but will reopen at 8 a.m. Monday, March 24, as scheduled.

Cape Girardeau, Scott, Bollinger and Wayne counties in southeast Missouri have been in the national news this week due to heavy rainfall in excess of 13 inches that fell Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19. Some streets in the City of Cape Girardeau were temporarily flooded, but streets on and near the campus were not impacted. Flooding on city streets has since receded, and nearly all city streets are open.

Nonetheless, flooding remains a significant issue in outlying lowland rural areas and on many county roads. While the National Guard has been called into these areas, Southeast Missouri State University is fortunate to be located on one of the highest hills in Cape Girardeau County and is, in no way, in need of assistance.

Officials with the City of Cape Girardeau closed a gate on the city’s floodwall in downtown Cape Girardeau Wednesday evening to protect the city’s historic business district from rising Mississippi River water. The city is expected to close another of those gates today. This is a standard procedure for the city when the river level becomes elevated. The river is expected to crest at 44.5 feet on Sunday, March 23. 

The University is located more than a mile west of the river and, because of the elevation of the campus, it is not impacted by river flooding. In addition, the University’s River Campus is located on a bluff well above the Mississippi and, thus, flooding is not a concern for those facilities either.

Officials in Illinois have expressed some concern about a levee on the east side of the Mississippi River that protects East Cape Girardeau, Illinois, and other rural communities, but the University is not in any danger if that levee were to be breached by rising waters.