ST. LOUIS (AP) – The latest on flooding in Missouri:
Amtrak has suspended rail service across Missouri because of flooding caused by recent heavy rains.
Kristi Jamison, with the Missouri Department of Transportation, says ticketed passengers for trips between St. Louis and Kansas City will be transported by bus. She says passengers should expect delays because buses will have to detour around flooded roads.
Jamison says it’s possible the tracks will reopen by Saturday but that will depend on whether more rain falls this week.
The traffic nightmare caused by flooding in suburban St. Louis is about to get worse, with plans to close a section of Interstate 55.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said Tuesday that a section of the north-south interstate will close late Tuesday or early Wednesday, near the St. Louis and Jefferson County line. The fast-rising Meramec River has already forced closure of a long stretch of Interstate 44 in the St. Louis region.
Other roads are closing too, including Lemay Ferry and Telegraph roads. MoDOT St. Louis district engineer Greg Horn says it will be virtually impossible to cross from one side of the Meramec to the other until the water starts to recede.
Heavy rain over the weekend prompted massive flooding in Missouri, and more rain is in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday.
The National Weather Service says some points of the Missouri River in the eastern part of Missouri will see major flooding.
The weather service says the Missouri crested nearly 16 feet above flood stage Tuesday at Gasconade. The service says the Missouri will reach more than 13 feet above flood stage on Wednesday in Hermann and around 10 feet above flood stage Wednesday in Washington and Thursday in St. Charles.
No major damage is expected at any of those locations due largely to buyouts in recent years.
Much of Missouri received 6 inches to 12 inches of rain over the weekend, and more rain is in the forecast Wednesday and Thursday.
The Meramec River in suburban St. Louis is now expected to reach a new record high in one town, and tie the record in another.
The National Weather Service says the crest in Eureka should reach 46.4 feet by Wednesday morning, topping the record of 46.1 feet set in December 2015. The crest in Valley Park is expected to tie the record that was also set in 2015.
Around 200 homes along the Meramec have been damaged by flooding, and authorities say another 1,500 are in harm’s way.
The flood follows heavy rain last weekend, and additional rain, perhaps up to 2 inches, is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.
Flooding along the Meramec River in suburban St. Louis has already impacted about 200 homes, and St. Louis County’s emergency management chief says another 1,500 are in harm’s way.
St. Louis County officials spoke Tuesday at a news conference. Emergency management director Mark Diedrich says the impacted homes are in and near several Meramec River towns, including Eureka, Pacific and Valley Park.
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The Meramec and other rivers in Missouri rose sharply after 6 inches to 12 inches of rain fell in Missouri over the weekend.
The Meramec is expected to crest near record levels within the next few days, but the forecast calling for the potential of more than 2 inches of new rain Wednesday and Thursday could push river levels even higher.
The southern Missouri town of West Plains continues to clean up after flooding from Howell Creek caused tornado-like devastation in parts of the community.
The creek rose sharply after 9 inches of rain fell in six hours Saturday, destroying buildings, ripping up part of the high school track and sending cars careening down the waterway.
The West Plains Quill reports that among the 70 water rescues over the weekend: Nearly two dozen college students rescued from the roof of a student housing building.
Despite the widespread damage, no deaths or injuries were reported.
Flooding has now closed another section of Interstate 44 in Missouri, and this one is expected to be a commuter nightmare.
I-44 closed from Interstate 270 in St. Louis County to Route 100, a 23-mile stretch. Missouri Department of Transportation officials warn that commutes that normally take minutes may now take hours as drivers seek alternative routes. It doesn’t help that Route 141 also is closed in Valley Park, due to flooding along the Meramec River.
Related story: More Roads Close Due to Flooding
I-44 is also closed over a 57-mile stretch from Lebanon to Rolla. All told, more than 300 roads are closed in spots around Missouri.
Heavy rain over the weekend led to a surge in several rivers in Missouri. The Meramec is expected to approach all-time record levels, prompting sandbagging and evacuations in some towns.
Significant flooding is also taking place along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
Forecasters are predicting more rain in some flooded parts of Missouri.
The National Weather Service says up to 3 inches could fall from late Tuesday through Thursday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the heaviest downpours expected in areas south of Interstate 70.
Hydrologist Mark Fuchs, of the weather service, says the rain could cause a secondary crest. He says the rain isn’t expected to “make it any worse for the most part” but that it might “prolong the agony in some areas.”
He described the flooding as “historic,” saying forecasts also are calling for record or near-record crests along several rivers, including the Meramec and the Big. The flooding already has claimed three lives and forced hundreds to evacuate.
Flooding has closed more than 300 roads across Missouri, making morning commutes challenging.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says the closed roads include several in St. Louis County. Officials also have shut down stretches of Interstate 44 between Rolla and Lebanon, Route 63 near Vienna and Route 50 in Gasconade County.
Three people have died in the Missouri flooding as several rivers have crested at record levels.
The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency counted 143 water rescues statewide but acknowledged that countless others probably weren’t reported. Hundreds of people were evacuated, a levee was topped in a rural area northwest of St. Louis, and a 57-mile stretch of Interstate 44 was closed.
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