A busy stretch of Interstate 55 in the St. Louis area has reopened after the Meramec River crested in the area.
The troublesome Black River that runs from southeast Missouri into northeast Arkansas was down after cresting earlier this week in places like Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and Pocahontas, Arkansas. MoDot says the roads will remain closed for the remainder of the week, reports WPSD. Heavy rains in the St. Louis area Wednesday morning strained the river, which was expected to surpass height records it set in December 2015, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
“My husband has lived in Eureka since 1972, never seen it this bad”, Martinez said of the days of rain.
A bobcat moves a pile of sandbags to be stacked on South Central Avenue in Eureka, Mo., to protect businesses from the rising floodwater of the Meramec River on Monday, May 1, 2017.
Meanwhile, the Missouri Department of Transportation is working overtime with more than 230 roads still closed across the state, as of press time Wednesday. But the river remains dangerously high, and St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar urged patience for evacuated residents anxious to get back home.
The new round of flooding comes just 16 months after a rare December flood swamped the same Meramec River towns, damaging hundreds of homes and badly damaging two sanitary treatment plants. Both rivers were at major flood stage Friday and water was seeping over levees at West Alton. They’re good country folks. It began spilling over a nearby levee Tuesday and officials anxious that the structure could be breached. “The levees weren’t designed for overtopping”, Randolph County Judge David Jansen told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
“With the rainfall we’re having here, it’s going to prolong the recession of the waters – the Meramec, the MS and the Missouri” said Kelly.
The evacuations were ordered for the east side of the town of about 6,500 located in northeastern Arkansas, according to KAIT-TV.
A faster-moving storm dropped as much as 4 inches of more rain on Wednesday on already saturated parts of central and southern Missouri, southern IL, northern Arkansas, central IN and Oklahoma. River levels in some portions of these states will reach moderate flood stage and may not drop below flood stage until almost the end of the month.
In Illinois, much of the central and southern parts of the state are under flood warnings.
River levels are mostly falling except for a few spots on the Missouri River and Mississippi River, though damage along those big rivers will be minimized by flood buyouts over the past two decades.
Forecasters said Heavy rain will drench the U.S. Midwest on Thursday but then ease in coming days.
The extended rain-free weather will help some communities with damage assessment and cleanup operations, while communities over the lower MS will have fair weather to prepare for the flooding to come.