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

  • Grieving mom pleads for return of phone with photos of her late son

    Canada News CTV News
    A grieving mother is hoping someone will come forward with the phone she lost in Calgary, so she can recover some of the last photos she has of her son who died. Rachel Thompson says the phone she lost at a Co-op on Sunday, contained an SD card filled with images and videos of her son, Zachary. Source
  • Donald Trump's childhood home up for auction today

    World News CTV News
    The childhood home of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump is finally up for sale, months after it was supposed to go up on the auction block. The house was to be auctioned off on Oct. Source
  • 'No position description': What Melania Trump can expect as U.S. first lady

    World News CTV News
    There are only four days until Donald Trump’s inauguration and transition to Washington D.C., but one key person in his life won’t be making that move just yet. In a scenario that some are calling unprecedented, Trump’s wife, Melania, is staying in New York with their 10-year-old son Barron until the end of the school year. Source
  • Iraqi troops capture historic site in Mosul destroyed by Islamic State

    World News CTV News
    IRBIL, Iraq -- Iraqi forces have captured the Mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, after driving Islamic State group militants from a new neighbourhood in eastern Mosul, a spokesman said on Tuesday, and the UN said that nearly 150,000 people have been displaced since the operation started in mid-October. Source
  • School, town hall, RCMP office on fire in N.L., one person in custody: police

    Canada News CTV News
    MILLTOWN, N.L. -- Police have taken one person into custody after the local school, town hall and police station all caught fire in a small community on Newfoundland's south coast. RCMP Cpl. Trevor O'Keefe said calls started coming in at about 4:40 a.m. Source
  • Donald Trump praises wrong Ivanka in Twitter shout-out

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wanted to praise his daughter on Twitter -- instead he accidentally sent his message to another Ivanka. Trump retweeted a message from a Twitter user that said his daughter was "great, a woman with real character and class. Source
  • Tremendous story of survival: Teen escapes deadly wreck, clings to tree in near-frozen creek as best friend drowns

    World News Toronto Sun
    A California teen is lucky to be alive after surviving a deadly car wreck last Wednesday night before clinging to a tree in a near-frozen, fast-moving creek in Mendocino County as her friend drowned in the cold, dark water. Source
  • Freezing rain causes school bus cancellations across southern Ontario

    Canada News CTV News
    Freezing rain is causing transportation havoc in much of southern Ontario, with widespread school bus cancellations in both public and Catholic schools. Buses have been called off in both public and Catholic schools in Toronto, the nearby regions of Peel, Durham, Halton and York, in Hamilton, Barrie and surrounding areas, as well as Prince Edward County, the Waterloo area and Stratford. Source
  • Cyclist claims assault after driver pushed him into intersection

    Canada News CTV News
    A cyclist who was shown on video being pushed into an intersection by a car says the driver slapped him afterward, in a moment not captured on camera. Victor Jung, a music teacher and avid cyclist, says he wants the driver charged with assault following the encounter, which took place at a busy intersection in Ottawa last Thursday. Source
  • Ottawa public transit bus catches fire with people on board

    Canada News CBC News
    A double-decker OC Transpo bus with dozens of people on board caught fire in rural Ottawa early Tuesday morning. It happened on Piperville Road, between Anderson Road and Farmers Way in southeast Ottawa, at about 6:50 a.m. Source