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.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Miss Iceland quits pageant after being told she was 'too fat' to compete

    World News Toronto Sun
    Miss Iceland says she has quit an international beauty pageant because organizers told her she was “too fat” to compete. Arna Yr Jonsdottir, 20, became an Internet hero after she shared a letter on Instagram accusing officials at the Miss Grand International of criticizing her body size and suggesting she go on a crash diet. Source
  • 'Enough of the Clintons,' Trump says, while Michelle Obama campaigns with Hillary

    World News CBC News
    Seeking to lash Hillary Clinton to her husband's sprawling post-presidential empire, Donald Trump accused the couple of turning to corruption to enrich themselves while in public service. On Thursday, the Republican nominee cited newly released emails from her campaign chairman's personal account showing Doug Band, a former Bill Clinton aide, describing overlapping relationships between the Clinton Foundation and the family's private gains. Source
  • Girls say they were sexually assaulted by female basketball coach

    World News Toronto Sun
    Two girls who claim they were sexually assaulted by their junior high basketball coach are now suing the school district. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cara Labus, 32, was busted in January 2015 and accused of sexually abusing two girls - between the ages of 14 and 16 at the time - while she was their teacher and basketball coach. Source
  • Drug king El Chapo 'sex-starved' in jail

    World News Toronto Sun
    Mexico’s most feared drug baron -- Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman-- is moaning that he’s sleep deprived and sex-starved. The pint-sized drug pusher may even be losing his marbles, the Los Angeles Times reports. The newspaper claims Guzman is suffering memory loss and hallucinations, quoting his lawyers and a psychiatrist. Source
  • Firefighters, police trying to rescue driver after car plunges into Lake Ontario

    Canada News CBC News
    Toronto police said two people jumped into Lake Ontario to try and rescue at least one person who was in a car that plunged into the water on Thursday afternoon, police say. Firefighters and police are still looking for the submerged vehicle and whoever was inside, police tweeted around an hour after they were alerted to the emergency. Source
  • Turkey urges extradition of Muslim cleric over failed coup

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Turkey's justice minister on Thursday pressed the United States to extradite a Muslim cleric it accuses of orchestrating the July failed coup attempt or risk seriously harming relations between the two countries. Bekir Bozdag, who spoke to reporters a day after meeting with U.S. Source
  • Guilty plea to charge in Rutgers webcam suicide case

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A former Rutgers University student whose roommate killed himself after being secretly recorded on a web camera kissing another man pleaded guilty Thursday to attempted invasion of privacy. Dharun Ravi’s plea comes after a New Jersey appeals court last month threw out a 15-count conviction against him and ordered a new trial on other counts. Source
  • Trump U staff included drug trafficker, child molester

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump says he hand-picked only the best to teach success at Trump University. But dozens of those hired by the company had checkered pasts — including serious financial problems and even convictions for cocaine trafficking or child molestation, an Associated Press investigation has found. Source
  • Death of asthmatic teen who saw shooting ruled a homicide

    World News Toronto Sun
    Chicago authorities say the death of a teenage girl who suffered an asthma attack after witnessing a fatal shooting at a block party was a homicide. Police say a dispute over a parking spot on the South Side led to gunfire last July. Source
  • Feds: Pooper scooper pretended to be Secret Service agent

    World News CTV News
    PITTSBURGH -- A man whose company scoops up pet poop has been charged with flashing a fake Secret Service ID and badge during a traffic stop and using it to get the "government rate" for a hotel room. Source