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Sandbagging Begins North of St. Louis

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Flooding

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Crest predictions were on the rise Saturday along the Mississippi River and other waterways in Missouri, the result of several days of heavy rain.

The state has been hit by strong storms all week, and a respite was still a long way away. More rain fell Saturday in the eastern part of the state. Forecasters called for rain, often heavy, through Wednesday.

The National Weather Service continues to predict floods of near major levels in such Mississippi River towns as Hannibal and Clarksville in the northern part of Missouri. Moderate flooding was expected in the St. Louis area.

The situation worsened Saturday south of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The weather service upgraded its predicted crest in Cape Girardeau, the southeast Missouri town that is Missouri’s second-largest community behind St. Louis on the Mississippi.

The river there, originally expected to top out a few feet above flood stage, is now expecting to reach nearly 10 feet over its banks, just short of 42 feet. Officials say that could result in water getting into a few homes and businesses. The flood will also cut off access to the town’s sewer plant, except by boat.

“Anytime the river gets over 41, 42 feet it is a significant event for us,” said Mark Hasheider, the assistant fire chief in charge of emergency operations for Cape Girardeau.

Sandbagging was taking place in some towns. Clarksville, about 70 miles north of St. Louis, has no flood levees, and volunteers were filling some 100,000 sandbags to protect the small town’s downtown area.

Several roads were closed and thousands of acres of farmland were flooded. Water was creeping near Highway 79 near Clarksville and Louisiana.

The rain has caused a quick rise in smaller rivers like the Meramec, the Big Piney, the Black and others. The Missouri River was also flooding in some spots and is nearing flood stage in others.

Flood and flash flood warnings and watches are in effect in much of central and eastern Missouri. Heavy rain on Friday caused a flash flood that closed Highway 67 near Farmington. There were no reports of injuries.

Copyright Associated Press

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