The latest predictions from the National Weather Service are good news for those who live along the Mississippi River.

The midday forecasts call for the river at Hannibal to crest at 17.2 feet Thursday. Earlier predictions had called for a crest over 18 feet. The stage at Hannibal at midday Monday stood at 16.4 feet. Flood stage is 16 feet.

When the river gets to flood stage, the setting of the city’s flood gates becomes a possibility, according to Marion County Emergency Management Director John Hark, "At that point in time, we do a constant monitoring of the river." Hark says that river levels are then checked three times per day. "If it goes to 18 feet, then I put everybody on standby if it's projected to go any higher. If we hit 20 feet or above, then the Center Street and Hill Street gates go in. If we're projected to go above 21 feet, all five gates go in as a precaution."

As of early Monday afternoon, predictions do not indicate the need for the installation of flood gates in downtown Hannibal.

Marion County Emergency Management Director John Hark: