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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Preparing for the flood

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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Scott County Rural Fire Protection District volunteers load sandbags Tuesday at the County Highway Department
(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Heavy rains saturate entire region

SIKESTON -- At least three people have died in Missouri due to widespread flooding caused by torrential rains that hammered Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois Tuesday and closed nearly 200 roads.

A cold front that began Monday brought along rain that just kept coming. The National Weather Service reports as much as 5 to 10 inches rainfall have fallen across the region. An additional inch of rain is expected to fall before rain stops today.

Missouri Department of Transportation reported 228 locations on state roads are currently closed due to flash flooding.

An 81-year-old man was found dead around noon Tuesday in the hard-hit town of Ellington, about 120 miles southwest of St. Louis, said Missouri State Water Patrol spokesman Lt. Nicholas Humphrey. Walter Baker was found drowned in floodwaters near a cluster of debris.

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Propane tanks were floating near Ellington, and a mudslide closed Highway H. Up to 50 homes and half of the town's businesses were evacuated. The State Emergency Management Agency said a bridge was at risk due to rushing water. In southeast Missouri, two Department of Conservation workers rescued a pregnant woman.

Near Springfield, a Missouri Department of Transportation worker was killed Tuesday morning as he helped out in a flooded area. SEMA said the worker, identified as 21-year-old Joshua Slatten of Springfield, was setting up barriers along U.S. 65 when his dump truck was struck by a semi.

The Water Patrol also was trying to get to a submerged car on Route 17 near Marble Hill in southeast Missouri. Humphrey said witnesses saw a driver go into the water of a flooded roadway, ''and no one exited the vehicle,'' he said.

Earlier, a Water Patrol boat sank near Ellington while searching for flood victims. One officer was on the boat, but he made his way to shore and was unharmed.

In Scott County, some homes in Chaffee and Oran areas reportedly flooded. Officials rescued one man from a submerged tractor.

Stoddard County Emergency Management Agency reported workers sandbagged one business near Puxico and sent additional bags to that area. Two shelters are on standby. The biggest concern there is the possibility of flooding if more water is released today from nearby Lake Wappapello.

In Bollinger County, conservation workers helped rescue people near Marble Hill. Propane tanks broke loose and were leaking.

Cape Girardeau County received nearly 8 inches of rain by Tuesday afternoon, causing flooding in the streets. Some residents of Cape Girardeau were trapped in their homes, SEMA officials said.

Gov. Matt Blunt signed two State of Emergency Executive Orders for the severe weather and flooding and activated the National Guard.