updated 5/12/2007 4:25:31 PM ET 2007-05-12T20:25:31

The Missouri River neared its highest point in the state’s capital city Saturday after a week of flooding towns upstream, but hydrologists said it wasn’t nearly as bad as feared.

The river reached about 29 feet Saturday morning, some 6 feet above flood stage. That was high enough to flood stretches of the riverside Katy Trail hiking and biking route and some low-lying roads, plus nearly 1,400 acres of farmland.

However, it was short of the predicted 34-foot peak, which could have wiped out many farmers’ crops for the year and inundated the Jefferson City Airport.

In north-central Missouri, Chariton County’s emergency coordinator reported a major break in a Missouri River levee Friday near Triplett.

The coordinator, Brad Morrison, said up to a 100-foot section of levee blew out and people were sandbagging the gap through the night and on Saturday. Some farmland was flooded, but no one was hurt, and there are not many homes in the region, he said.

Near Sumner, the Grand River rose to near 40 feet but had fallen slightly by Saturday morning and should keep dropping, the National Weather Service said. It was not expected to fall below flood stage of 26 feet until Tuesday.

“They’re getting some impact to the homes,” weather service hydrologist Mark Fuchs said. “They may be escaping the worst of it.”

During the 1993 flooding across the Midwest, the Grand River at Sumner reached 42.5 feet.

Fuchs, in St. Louis, said levee breaks in the western part of the state earlier this week allowed the river to spread out, relieving the pressure and the height of the water downstream as the flood crest moved eastward.

“The bigger effects do not look like they’re going to happen,” Fuchs said. “Overall, this is a decent little flood but not anything to get real excited about. We’re looking at largely minor inconveniences throughout the Missouri River east of Jefferson City.”

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