Rivers start to drop, but flood crisis isn’t over yet

Rivers start to drop, but flood crisis isn't over yet

ST. LOUIS — River levels are falling after record and near-record flooding in parts of the Midwest, but the crisis is far from over.

Downpours that dumped up to a foot of rain in parts of the nation’s midsection last weekend led to the sudden surge of water. Flooding is blamed in at least nine deaths, and an 18-month-old Arkansas girl swept away by floodwater is missing and presumed dead. Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois.

A steady rain that began Wednesday continued Thursday. The National Weather Service said the additional water — up to 4 inches of rain in some areas — shouldn’t cause rivers to rise higher, but will prolong the flood.

Major flooding is occurring on the Missouri River in eastern Missouri and the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois. A Mississippi River bridge at Chester, Illinois, will close at noon Thursday because flood gates on the Missouri side will block the bridge entrance.

City officials in tiny West Alton, Missouri, about 20 miles north of St. Louis, urged residents to get out of town amid concerns the Missouri River levee there could break.

The worst of the damage was along smaller rivers.

The Black River that runs from southeast Missouri into northeast Arkansas was down after cresting at record levels earlier this week in places such as Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and Pocahontas, Arkansas. But the mess left behind was substantial. A levee breach near Pocahontas on Wednesday prompted several water rescues.

The Meramec River in suburban St. Louis also is on the decline. A levee at Valley Park, Missouri, is holding, as is a sandbag levee consisting of 250,000 bags in nearby Eureka. But the river remains dangerously high, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar urged patience for evacuated residents anxious to get back home.

Hundreds of roads across the four states remain closed, including a busy stretch of Interstate 44 in suburban St. Louis.

Traffic is even closed on the Mississippi River. The U.S. Coast Guard late Tuesday closed a 14.5-mile stretch of the river near St. Louis, blocking a vital passageway for moving agricultural goods and other products.

Jim Salter, The Associated Press

Just Posted

North Okanagan indigenous student award winners

Scholarship program rewards 457 students across province

Local donations lift college trades facility

George Galbraith and Kal Tire each donate $250,000 to new Okanagan College trades training centre

RCMP seek missing man

Blake Doyle was last seen Dec. 2

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

SilverStar shines

Vernon’s mountain resort lights up for Christmas

Fans litter ice with teddy bears for charity

Annul Vernon Vipers Teddy Bear Toss B.C. Hockey League game

Writing her way to recovery

Shuswap author finds healing and well-being by writing

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

North Westside director travels

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board has agreed to Wayne Carson attending conferences

A classic Christmas play with a Kelowna twist

Scrooge is transported to Kelowna in New Vintage Theatre’s new holiday play, opening Wednesday

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Most Read