Missouri, Illinois governors tour flooded areas amid threat to more homes

ST. LOUIS -- The governors of Missouri and Illinois toured flood-ravaged areas Saturday as near-record crest predictions of the Mississippi River and levee breaks threatened more homes.

See Full Article

While the worst of the dangerous, deadly winter flood was over in the St. Louis area, farther south, things were getting worse. Two more levees succumbed Friday, bringing to at least 11 the number of levee failures.

The flood, fueled by more than 10 inches (25 centimetres) of rain over a three-day period that began last weekend, is blamed for 24 deaths. Searchers were still looking for four missing people -- one teenager in Illinois, two men in Missouri and a country music singer in Oklahoma.

On Friday, water from the Mississippi, Meramec and Missouri rivers was largely receding in the St. Louis area. Two major highways -- Interstate 44 and Interstate 55 -- reopened south of St. Louis, meaning commuters who return to work on Monday won't have hours-long detours. Some evacuees were allowed to return home.

But in the far southwestern tip of Illinois, the 500 or so people living behind the Len Small levee, which protects the hamlets of Olive Branch, Hodges Park, Unity and rural homes, were urged to move to higher ground after the Mississippi began pouring over the levee.

Alexander County Board Chairman Chalen Tatum said sandbagging efforts were cut off because it was simply too dangerous for the volunteers. Far more water is to come before the Sunday crest.

"It's going to get ugly," he said.

In central Illinois, the body of one of two teenagers missing since Monday was located on Friday. Devan R. Everett, 18, was found in the water near where dive crews found the pickup truck he and the other teen were last seen in.

On Saturday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner resumed his tour of flood-damaged areas for the second day, with planned stops in Eureka and Cape Girardeau. A day earlier he activated Illinois National Guard soldiers to help with flood recovery efforts as needed. In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon planned stops in Eureka and Cape Girardeau.

In St. Mary, Missouri, a town of about 360 residents 50 miles (80 kilometres) south of St. Louis, neighbours and volunteers placed sandbags around homes after a small agricultural levee broke. The Mississippi River was expected to crest there Saturday at about 3.5 feet (1.1 metres) below the 1993 record.

The main culprit in the St. Louis region was the Meramec River, a relatively small Mississippi tributary. It had bombarded communities in the far southwestern reaches of the St. Louis suburbs during the week. By Friday, it was relenting, but not before some points topped the 1993 record by 4 feet (1.2 metres).

Two wastewater treatment plants were so damaged by the floodwaters that raw sewage spewed into the river. A water plant closed at High Ridge.

Hundreds of people were evacuated in Pacific, Eureka, Valley Park and Arnold, and many of their homes took in water.

In West Alton, Missouri, a Mississippi River town that sits near the convergence with the also-elevated Missouri River just north of St. Louis, evacuees couldn't yet return because floodwaters continued to pour over the overwhelmed levee, Mayor Willie Richter said. He estimated that about three-quarters of the homes were damaged.

Nearly 1,000 residents left West Alton after the 1993 flood, never to return. Richter said some of the remaining 500 or so may leave this time, too. Richter, 46, said he's staying put in the same house where he grew up. He plans to raise the home off the ground a bit.

"It's our family home, so it's hard to think about leaving," Richter said.

In southeast Missouri, the fast-rising Mississippi damaged about two-dozen homes in Cape Girardeau and threatened a power substation, though the community of nearly 40,000 residents is mostly protected by a flood wall. The crest prediction at Cape Girardeau expected Sunday was upgraded to a foot and a half (45 centimetres) above the 1993 record.

Parts of the South are also in the flood's path. Moderate Mississippi River flooding is expected in Memphis, where officials were moving to protect roads and an airport.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Residential building collapses in Nigeria, killing at least 8

    World News CBC News
    A four-storey residential building collapsed in Nigeria's largest city killing at least eight people, including a child, emergency officials and an Associated Press photographer in Lagos said Wednesday. Authorities said at least 15 people had been rescued from the rubble of the building that collapsed Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Jailbreak how-to: Inmates chronicle escape on cellphone mocking investigators

    World News Toronto Sun
    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Video shot with a contraband cellphone shows the escape of three inmates from a maximum-security wing of a California jail last year, as well as scenes from their days on the run. Los Angeles news station KNBC-TV, which aired parts of the footage Tuesday, says it was provided by an attorney connected to the case, and not by prosecutors. Source
  • Ohio executes Ronald Phillips, man convicted of rape and murder of three-year-old

    World News Toronto Sun
    LUCASVILLE, Ohio — Ohio is preparing to put a condemned child killer to death in the state’s first execution in more than three years. Forty-three-year-old Ronald Phillips is scheduled to die Wednesday at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Source
  • Judge set to decide if Charlie Gard can die at home after appeal for U.S. treatment stalled [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — A British judge is considering where Charlie Gard, a baby with a rare genetic disease, will spend the last days of his life. A High Court judge is expected to decide at a London hearing Wednesday whether his parents’ wish to take Charlie home to die will be granted. Source
  • Canadian boy, 7, stranded in Cuba after falling ill on vacation

    Canada News CBC News
    A Canadian mother and her sick son are desperate to get back home after an illness forced Cole Antinello, 7, off an airplane tarmac in Cuba, leaving them stuck in hospital and searching for answers. Source
  • Judge set to decide on where Charlie Gard's spends last days

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- A British judge is considering where Charlie Gard, a baby with a rare genetic disease, will spend the last days of his life. A High Court judge is expected to decide at a London hearing Wednesday whether his parents' wish to take Charlie home to die will be granted. Source
  • Man accused of raping and impregnating 11-year-old girl says she may have raped him

    World News Toronto Sun
    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Prosecutors say a 38-year-old Massachusetts man charged with impregnating an 11-year-old girl denies raping the girl, and instead suggested that she might have become pregnant by having sex with him as he slept. The Republican newspaper reports that Justin Armstrong, of Springfield, was held on $50,000 bail after pleading not guilty Monday to forcible child rape. Source
  • It makes you wonder: Mayor swears $200K 'stairway to nowhere' will go somewhere

    Canada News CTV News
    While residents of New Westminster, B.C. fret over a puzzling “stairway to nowhere” installed on a busy street corner, the city’s mayor insists the $200,000 project will ultimately go somewhere. “It will not be a staircase to nowhere,” Mayor Jonathan Cote told CTV Vancouver on Tuesday, amid growing outcry over the puzzling staircase. Source
  • Justin Trudeau, dubbed 'The North Star,' lands Rolling Stone cover

    Canada News CBC News
    "Is Canada's prime minister the free world's best hope?" Rolling Stone magazine seems to thinks so. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is featured in the cover story posted online Tuesday morning for the latest issue of the long-running music and pop culture magazine. Source
  • Supreme Court quashes plans for seismic testing in Nunavut

    Canada News CBC News
    The Supreme Court of Canada has quashed plans for seismic testing in Nunavut, delivering a major victory to Inuit who argued they were inadequately consulted before the National Energy Board gave oil companies the green light to conduct disruptive testing. Source