Heavy rain leads to flooding in Louisiana
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 21, 2017,
May 21, 2017, 2:12
Across the state, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said some 500 people have been evacuated. It began spilling over a nearby levee Tuesday and officials anxious that the structure could be breached.
At St. Louis, where some highways have been closed due to high water, the MS is not expected to drop below flood stage until the middle of week.
Authorities are urging caution: Damaged buildings can pose hazards, such as electrical shock, while wildlife displaced by flooding - such as snakes, turtles and deer - could be lurking in and around homes.
As a detour, the agency is recommending motorists use I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City and then using I-435 to I-49 to Joplin to then reconnect to I-44.
Missouri is not in the clear yet, as flooding concerns are focused on the larger rivers, the Missouri and the MS, according to the National Weather Service. Six deaths are now blamed on flooding in Missouri, while four occurred in Arkansas.
Meanwhile, residents of central and southern IL prepped for their own coming floods as rain continued to fall.
Forecasters said up to 4 inches of rain will fall in the saturated St. Louis area.
More major roads are closing, due to flooding in south and west St. Louis County this week.
Heavy rains have swollen many rivers to record levels in parts of Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a 69-year-old man from the southern Missouri town of Salem died Thursday night after trying to cross a flooded road across Dry Fork Creek.
Missouri has seen the worst of it so far.
Brian Emfinger, a reporter for CNN affiliate KATV, took aerial images and video of flooding near Pocahontas, Arkansas, in the northeastern part of the state, where floodwaters overtopped a levee. At least 200 homes and dozens of businesses were damaged.
The St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management issued a flood warning until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The Missouri Department of Transportation said it would close a part of Interstate 55 in St. Louis overnight into Wednesday morning due to the rising floodwaters.
Health officials also warned residents that raw sewage, chemicals and other risky material in floodwater created contamination concerns.
Rain is expected to hover around northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri all day Thursday and into the evening. But the mess left behind is substantial after the river reached record levels in both places.
Update 5:11pm May 4th: MODOT also announced this afternoon that westbound I-44 in St. Louis County is now open while eastbound remains closed from Rte 100 to I-270. A levee at Valley Park, Missouri, is holding, as is a sandbag levee consisting of 250,000 bags in nearby Eureka.