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

Hawthorne Park decision could come from Surrey City Council tonight

Failed petition will be presented to municipal politicians

Information flows following White Rock’s water-utility-price agreement

Critics ‘have egg on their face’ following announcement, says mayor

Former Langley roadbuilder faces fraud sentencing

A judge will weigh the fate of Matthew Brooks, who pleaded guilty to a $6 million fraud.

Delta staff to review ice arena refrigeration systems

Safety check comes after an ammonia leak killed three people at Fernie Memorial Arena on Oct. 17

Police warn of ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam

The targets are generally female Chinese nationals.

WATCH: Speedskaters race at Langley Sportsplex

The first big local meeting of the season drew 105 skaters.

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek farm search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

Surrey francophone group marks 30th anniversary with concert, exhibit

Montreal-based jazz singer Florence K will perform at Surrey City Hall theatre

Development cost charges could triple in parts of Metro Vancouver under new proposal

Utilities commission chair says rates aren’t keeping up with growth

Ferries re-routed due to fluid spill at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

At least one sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point was redirected to Departure Bay

‘Angels’ help save life of Langley senior

Wilf Driedger believes he wouldn’t be here today if not for the quick action of two strangers

Chilliwack homeless camp dismantled on Monday

Mostly co-operative group emerged from the woods with possessions and dispersed

Most Read