Towns south of St. Louis brace for Mississippi River flooding

ST. LOUIS - As flood-weary towns near St. Louis began to regroup from record high water, Mississippi River communities farther south braced for the peak of flooding that has already damaged hundreds of homes and businesses and killed nearly two dozen people.

See Full Article

The water level on the Mississippi River was on the way down at St. Louis after reaching to within two metres of the 1993 record on Thursday. A floodwall protected the city, which had minimal damage. The Missouri River in eastern Missouri also was on the decline. The worst flooding was on the smaller Meramec River.

Four people were missing as a result of the deluge, two each in Missouri and Illinois.

Despite the falling water, transportation remained difficult around St. Louis. Part of Interstate 55 was closed south of the city; a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 44 was closed in the southwest suburbs. It wasn't certain when either would reopen. The Mississippi River was closed for a 5-mile stretch at St. Louis, idling barge traffic. Both Union Pacific and Amtrak suspended rail service in parts of the St. Louis area.

The worst of the damage was in Meramec River towns including Eureka, Valley Park and Arnold, all southwest of St. Louis, where the river reached more than one metre above the previous record at some spots. Hundreds of homes were damaged by high water and hundreds of others evacuated, along with dozens of businesses. Two wastewater plants were shut down - at Fenton and Valley Park - allowing raw sewage into the Meramec.

In Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, south of St. Louis, the Mississippi was still rising but there was good news: The crest forecast for late Friday or early Saturday, once expected to be a record, was now expected to fall about 60 centimetres short of the 1993 mark. Many downtown merchants had cleared out, just to be on the safe side, in case the levee gave way.

“We are breathing a bit easier,” said Sandra Cabot, director of tourism for the historic French settlement that dates to the 18th century. “We are very confident in our levee. We've never been tested at this level before.”

Other southern Missouri and Illinois towns were getting ready for the high-water mark. A record-tying crest was expected by the weekend in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, but a floodwall offers protection and is not considered endangered. Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet, seemed safe, despite a near-record crest prediction.

It appeared the Corps of Engineers would not need to blast a hole in the Birds Point waterway in southeast Missouri, as it did in 2011 to relieve pressure from the flood protection at nearby Cairo. The Corps said the intentional breach would be considered if the Ohio River reached 18 metres at Cairo, but the weather service projects it will top out at 15.5 metres on Sunday.

In Eureka, firefighters and their boats have been in high demand, accounting for roughly 100 rescues of people in their homes, businesses or vehicles since Tuesday, said Scott Barthelmass, a Eureka Fire Protection District spokesman.

Nine levees - five on the Mississippi River, three on the Missouri and one on Illinois' Kaskaskia River - were topped by water this week, but those earthen barriers protect farmland and otherwise unpopulated areas.

-----

Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City, Missouri, contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 5 convicted in killing of Boris Nemtsov, outspoken Putin critic

    World News CBC News
    A court on Thursday convicted five men of murdering Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, but the late politician's allies said the investigation had been a coverup and that the people who had ordered his killing remained at large. Source
  • Alleged purse snatcher run down by woman

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Kelsey Litwin, Postmedia Network First posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:11 AM EDT | Updated: Thursday, June 29, 2017 10:23 AM EDT Source
  • Vancouver bans pet shop sales of cats, dogs and rabbits

    Canada News CTV News
    Prospective pet owners in Vancouver won’t be able to buy a cat, dog or rabbit at their local pet shop after the city passed a motion banning their sale in retail stores. City Counc. Source
  • U.K. lawmakers face key vote on government's agenda

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- British lawmakers were set to vote Thursday on whether to approve the Conservative government's plans for a Brexit-dominated parliamentary session, in a test of Prime Minister Theresa May's shaky minority administration. In a sign of its weakened position after an election wiped out May's parliamentary majority, the government was forced into a concession hours before the vote. Source
  • Trump calls out 'crazy' MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, accusing her of having 'low IQ'

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has ridiculed the looks and temperament of a female cable television host whose show he says he’s stopped watching. Trump has used a series of tweets to go after Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who’ve criticized Trump on their MSNBC show “Morning Joe. Source
  • Ex-Oilers tough guy Dave Semenko dies of cancer at 59

    Canada News CBC News
    Former Edmonton Oilers enforcer Dave Semenko, best known as Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard on the ice, has died of cancer, the NHL team announced Thursday morning. He was 59. The Winnipeg native had it all in the early 1980s, playing on the left side of the Oilers' top line with stars Jari Kurri and Gretzky and winning two Stanley Cups. Source
  • Woman shoots boyfriend dead in YouTube stunt gone wrong

    World News CBC News
    A Minnesota woman charged in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend told authorities it was a video stunt gone wrong. Monalisa Perez, of Halstad, Minn., was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Pedro Ruiz III. Source
  • 'It was ceremony': Indigenous group defends setting up teepee on Parliament Hill

    Canada News CBC News
    A grassroots group of Indigenous people and their supporters, who faced opposition from police as they tried to make their way onto the front lawn of Parliament Hill to conduct a days-long ceremony in Ottawa, say they would have been met with opposition if they had tried to go through official channels. Source
  • If Northern Ireland's 5 parties can't agree today, power could return to London

    World News CBC News
    Seventeen-year-olds AJ McMinn and Rachel Madden went to primary schools in Belfast just across the street from each other. One Protestant. One Catholic. Back then, they wouldn't even have crossed the road to speak to each other. Source
  • Liberals extend Canada’s ‘advise and assist’ mission in Iraq

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal government says the Canadian military will remain in Iraq for at least two more years as part of an international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the threat posed by the group, also known as Daesh, ISIL or ISIS, requires Canadian soldiers to remain in the region until at least March 2019. Source