Some rivers receding, but Mississippi River remains high

Overlook Park in Pocahontas Erika Ferrando

As if southeast Missouri hasn't had more than enough rain and flooding in the past week, the region can expect another day of heavy precipitation until it enters a much-needed dry spell this weekend and continuing into next week.

The governor declared a state of emergency Monday after more than a week of severe storms, flooding and tornadoes. Officials said the levee was built only to withstand 28 feet of water. "Right now, our area is at the highest risk that we can be". Less than a foot of moving water is enough to push a vehicle. Major flooding is occurring on parts of the Missouri River and the Mississippi River in Missouri and IL.

In Valley Park, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Pacific, the Meramec has dropped sharply since cresting just short of an all-time record. The high water levels will continue to impact river navigation and port operations.

The Black River has dropped at least three feet since Tuesday evening, but it's still well above flood stage. That allows traffic between St. Louis and Jefferson counties to resume.

That's concerning in levee-protected towns.

Heavy rains caused an abrupt rise in rivers located in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. Northbound I-55 is expected to close before the afternoon rush hour on Wednesday.

It's unclear when river traffic would reopen along the closed 14.5-mile stretch of the MS, a vital passageway for transporting agricultural products and other goods.

TED EVANS: We got everything out of our house, basement-wise and everything. They said he ignored road closure signs and drove right into high water.

Forecasters are especially keeping tabs on the crest of the lower White River, which is fed by the Black River, around Newport in Jackson County, said Tabitha Clarke with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. Route 94 is also closed from Route 47 through Dutzow.

More major roads are closing, due to flooding in south and west St. Louis County this week.

Among them are Route 30 or Gravois at the Meramec River and Route 47 from the Missouri River Bridge in Washington to Marthasville.

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It has still not been decided if classes at Eureka High School will be held Friday.

"You need to be prepared for having Highway 44 closed down this weekend".

MoDOT is still assessing other area roadways as the flood waters recede.

"We really thought this was going to finally be a decent year", said Prince. The Brussels Ferry in Grafton is also closed.

While the floods are tragic, the rain's overall effect on the Midwest landscape is stunning.

Many eyes, including those of some national TV viewers, are now focused on the St. Louis area, where rising levels on the Meramec River have finally crested.

While some areas along streams and small rivers have born the brunt of the slow-moving flooding disaster in recent days, communities along the Mississippi River from Missouri and IL to Louisiana and Mississippi will be racing against rising water over the next couple of weeks. "The whole town of Eminence is devastated", Peters said.

Rte. 141, at I-44 in St. Louis County remains closed.

"We were able to save a lot a lot of homes and businesses that before we lost", Eureka Mayor Kevin Coffey said. Adding insult to injury, the forecast is calling for more rain. Meanwhile, the flooded caused the suspension of Amtrak rail services across Missouri. Wayne Pratt of member station St. Louis Public Radio reports.

"My wife collected some clothes and our kids while I went to warn the neighbors to get out", he told CNN.

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