(ST. LOUIS, Mo.) — A 14th death has been confirmed in Missouri as historic flooding continues to ravage the state, leaving businesses and homes submerged in water near the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
The latest confirmed victim died in Crawford County after a vehicle was swept away from flooded roadways, the Missouri Department of Public Safety said.
Almost all the flood-related deaths were in vehicles on flooded roadways, Gov. Jay Nixon said, urging motorists to stay away from roads with even low levels of water because of fast-moving currents from floodwaters.
Water levels in several cities along the Mississippi River in Missouri and Illinois will reach or surpass the flood of 1993, which will be the highest ever recorded in that area, ABC meteorologist Max Golembo said. The river is expected to crest in St. Louis Thursday, he said.
Firefighters saved a man and dog being rescued from the roof of a home in Eureka, Missouri, just southwest of St. Louis, that was almost completely submerged in water from the Meramec River, Scott Barthelmass of the Eureka Fire Department said. There were three ongoing rescues in the area, he said.
Valley Park is the latest city in Missouri to undergo a mandatory evacuation. On Wednesday Mayor Mike Pennise ordered the residents in the levee-protected area in the lower end of the city to be out by noon. The evacuation will not be lifted until the water level recedes to 40 feet, according to the city’s website.
About 520 people were evacuated after water from the Mississippi River topped a levee in West Alton, about 20 miles north of St. Louis.
Sandbagging efforts are underway in the city of High Ridge in Jefferson County, where officials are concerned about a public drinking water plant that serves 14,000 nearby residents, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
Untreated sewage is seeping into the Meramec River after its waters overwhelmed a treatment plant in Fenton, Missouri. Utility officials said the plant is designed for 6.75 million gallons per day of flow, but was treating nearly 24 million gallons per day at the time of the malfunction.
Highways and road closures include I-44 near the central Missouri town of Rolla and a section of I-70 in southern Illinois. Hundreds of smaller highways and roads were closed across the two states, where flood warnings are in effect.
Gov. Nixon declared a state of emergency Sunday and activated the Missouri National Guard Tuesday to protect communities and support emergency response personnel.
The Red Cross has set up several stations across the state.
The central United States isn’t expected to receive heavy rain for the next week.
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